Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Professor Janet Wilson

Prof of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surg



I have held the substantive Chair in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery – one of very few in the UK – since 1995. I was  the second female to be appointed to a UK chair in a surgical discipline. As Hon Consultant otolaryngologist at NuTH, I have a subspecialist clinical practice in throat symptoms, management of common nasal disroders and persistent physical (unexplained) symptoms. I have developed a new local service for local anaesthetic vocal cord medialisation

 Roles and Responsibilities

I am CI on two nationally funded trials (; In 2017 I was elected to a second term on Council RCSEd where I am working to enhance patient involvement in surgical decision making.  I am regional ENT Trainee Research Director. I manage a team of 7 or 8 clinical academics in my specialty at any one time, and also co-supervise NMAP higher degrees.

BSc (Med Sci), Edinburgh l976
MB ChB, Edinburgh l979
FRCSEd, Otolaryngology l983
FRCSEng, Otolaryngology l984
MD, Edinburgh l989 - The Upper Oesophageal Sphincter 
FRCSLT (Hon) 2009
Previous Positions

Consultant Otolaryngologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer
Royal Infirmary, Glasgow 1992-1995

Honours and Awards

1.      Elected one of 10 UK Members of the International CORLAS group 1995

2.      Otorhinolaryngological Research Society President 2002-04

3.      NHS Clinical Excellence Gold award 2005

4.      Kleinsasser Lecturer, European Laryngological Society Nottingham 2006

5.      North of England Surgical Society President 2006-07

6.      American Academy of Otolaryngology HNS  Honor Award 2006

7.      British Association of Otolaryngologists Hon Sec 2007-10

8.      RSM ENT Sections President 2008-09

10.    BMA's Jobson Horne Prize 2011

11.    Times 'Top Doctors' 2010; 'Top Surgeons' list 2011

12.     Newcastle University Teaching Excellence award 2013

13.    Harveian Society, Edinburgh, President 2013

14.    Wilde Discourser, IOS, 2014 

15.     President British Laryngological Association, 2014

15.     Semon Lecturer University of London 2016

16.     Guest Lecturer, New Zealand Assoc HNS, 2016



Research Interests

My research interest lie within the head and neck, particularly the throat. They include:

Extra-oesophageal manifestations of gastro-oesophageal reflux

The aetiology and treatment of persistent throat symptoms including tonsillitis in adulthood,  cervical dysphagia, globus sensation, hoarseness and socially disruptive snoring

Patient involvement in decision making

Innate immunity in airway inflammation

Postgraduate supervision

Three of my tutees were awarded PhDs in 2017 - Ball; Powell and Kullar

Higher Degrees Supervised = 7 other  PhDs – ( Drs Hirst, Webb, Leslie, Bell, Patterson, Deary, Hamilton);5 MD – (Drs Reda, Nair, Siou, Mehrotra, Ali); 3 MPhil – (Drs Cathcart, Karkos Ball)

Esteem Indicators

  1. Sir Ernest Finch Visiting Professor public lecture - Sheffield, 1996

  2. Elected one of 10 UK Members of the International CORLAS group 1995

  3. Otorhinolaryngological Research Society President 2002-04

  4. Over 40 invited international or eponymous lectures

  5. American Academy of Otolaryngology HNS  Honor Award 2006

  6. Hon FRCSLT 2009

  7. BMA's Jobson Horne Prize 2011

  8. Recent international / eponymous lectures:

Wilde Discourse: Risk, Heroism and Disgrace  Irish Otolaryngology Society, Lough Eske,  2014

Reflux in ear, nose and throat disorders  United European Gastroenterology Week Barcelona 2015

Semon’s laryngological leagacy – acumen; research; innovation University of London Semon Lecture RSM 2016

Challenges of surgical evidence gathering; TNO for and against; Mucus – friend or foe? Throat symptoms what’s the risk? NZAOHNS invited lecturer Christchurch 2016

Globus pharyngeus - where are we now? Keynote address Eur Laryngological Soc London 2018

Chronic Rhinosinusitis: How Person-Centred Care Will Revolutionise Research and Treatment European Rhinologic Society Karl Storz Lecture London 2018     

Informed consent – what are the barriers to informed decision making? Health Plus Care Conference, London 2018

Current funding

2013    HTA Clinical Effectiveness and Trials Trial of proton pump inhibitors in persistent throat symptoms TOPPITS 12/01/04, 01/01/2014-30/06/2017. (CI) £765,859                             

 2013    HTA Clinical Effectiveness and Trials 12/146/06: 01/07/2014 to 31/03/2019 NATTINA -National Trial of Tonsillectomy in Adults , (CI)  £1,678740

 2013    HTA TUBE trial 12/35/32 : 01/01/2014 to 30/06/2016 A feasibility randomised controlled trial of pre-treatment gastrostomy tube versus oral feeding plus as-needed nasogastric tube feeding in patients undergoing chemoradiation for head and neck cancer (Co-applt.)   £377996

 2014   RCSEng Shears Training Fellowship Jason Powell: 01/08/2014-31/07/2015 Laryngopharyngeal reflux: assessment of a cellular model    RES/01207693            £46,598

 2015    Laryngopharyngeal reflux assessment of a cellular model 01/01 2015 to 30/06/2016   RES/0120/7737 Newcastle upon Tyne Healthcare Charity        £10,061

 2015    Wellcome Training Fellowship  Jason Powell - 05/08/15 to 04/08/2018   Modulation of the Upper Airway Host  Defences to Prevent Pneumonia in Ventilated Patients   £220,109       

 2016   HTA  14/226/07   NAIROS - Nasal AIRway Obstruction Study (Co applicant)     £1,151,669

 2016  HTA 15/57/160 – LiTEFORM. Lite Therapy Effectiveness For ORal Mucositis Study. A randomised controlled trial of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Low Level Laser in the management of Oral Mucositis in Head and Neck cancer irradiation (Co applicant)           £1,220,713



SSC Student supervisor


2013 voted University Taught Spervisor of the Year in the Teaching Excellence  Awards

I have co-organised 35 national Medical Postgraduate courses. Contributor to the regional training programmes in Manchester, Leeds, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow and I have given invited contributions to 16 further courses, several recurring. Numerous eponymous and international lectures.

My current focus is the development of improved skills in Shared decision making in Informed Consent, a project lead by the RCSEd

I have support fed the extended role of Speech and Language therapists notably in the field of upper airway endoscopy for over two decades


I have contributed to Public engagement via the Mini Medical School initiative, occasional public lectures and secondary school motivational lectures for aspiring medical school entrants.