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Areas of Expertise
Dr Direkze performs a range of procedures, including:
- Capsule endoscopy
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
Some of the common conditions she investigates and manages are:
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Bowel disease
- Bowel cancer
- Barret’s oesophagus
- Motility disorders
- Change in bowel habit
- Reflux symptoms
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Dr Natalie Direkze, MBBS MA PhD FRCP is a consultant gastroenterologist and general physician at St Mary’s Hospital, which is part of the Imperial College NHS Trust.
She completed a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge before going on to study medicine at St Mary’s. After junior training posts in London, she was appointed to the North West London gastroenterology training programme in 1999. In 2006, she completed a PhD in adult stem cell biology and pancreatic cancer at Cancer Research UK.
Dr Direkze completed her training at Bart’s and the London NHS Trust, becoming a clinical lecturer there from 2007 to 2009. She was appointed to Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a consultant gastroenterologist and general physician, in 2009; returning to St Mary’s in 2015.
Since becoming a consultant she has been involved in teaching medical students, junior doctors and specialist trainees, as well as BSc and MSc students at Imperial College. She has lectured on topics ranging from treatments in inflammatory bowel disease and surveillance in oesophageal disease. She has also been invited to teach on Joint Advisory Group courses teaching endoscopy to specialist registrars.
Dr Natalie Direkze partnered with Welbeck Health Partners in 2018 to collaboratively develop the OneWelbeck Digestive Health Centre.
Dr Direkze completed a PhD in adult stem cell biology and pancreatic cancer in 2006. A number of well cited papers resulted from this, describing the role of adult bone marrow derived stem cells and their contribution to tumour formation.
Since becoming a consultant, she has been more involved in a number of clinical projects, including a national study into aspirin and Barrett’s Oesophagus (AspECT); studies looking at the effectiveness of different agents for managing acute severe colitis (CONSTRUCT); and studies looking at genetic markers for drug reactions in inflammatory bowel disease (Pred4 and PANTS). She has also contributed to the National Registry for patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation for dysplastic Barrett’s oesophagus.
Other projects have included a role in validating a food-related quality of life questionnaire in inflammatory bowel disease and more recently an evaluation of local dietetic services at Imperial for IBD patients.
Dr Direkze has contributed to approximately 40 articles, reviews and book chapters. Some highlights include first author papers in the journal ‘Cancer Research’ on stem cells and cancer. Other papers of interest include those on inflammatory bowel disease.
She has written a number of book chapters and reviews including titles such as ‘A New Stem Cell Biology for Pathologists’, ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colon Cancer’ and a chapter in a guide for junior doctors.
Get to know Dr Direkze…
I see OneWelbeck Digestive Health as setting the bar for patients arriving for an endoscopic procedure or investigation of gastroenterological symptoms – a place for patients to know they are getting great care and a standard for other units to aspire to reach.Dr Natalie Direkze
I am delighted to be part of this team, to be able to deliver my services in a high-quality environment.
It’s a great opportunity, as a clinician, to be involved in the design and development of a centre which offers world-class treatment to patients in partnership with other doctors -whose skills I know and respect. The whole pathway has been designed to put the patient at the heart of the process by people who have the expertise – without external constraints and targets.
What are the moments which stand out most in your career so far?
Getting into medical school – I was a post graduate student and won a scholarship for my fees. Other highlights include being invited to the houses of parliament as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of Barrett’s oesophagus and the importance of surveillance and treatment of early lesions. Also, being invited to teach on courses instructing junior doctors to scope and being an invited speaker on courses teaching medical students new clinical skills and learning lessons in medicine.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I cycle to work at least twice a week – an opportunity to take in the views of the river, and collect my thoughts for the day.
In recent years I have taken up a musical instrument for the first time. I also enjoy Bikram yoga to keep me flexible.