Until May 2018, Lesley was a full time pain specialist in the Lothian Chronic Pain Service, and Hon Professor, University of Edinburgh. She took up post as Chair of Pain Medicine, University of Dundee, in May 2018.
Her qualifications and training include: FRCP (Edin) 2013; FFPMRCA, 2007; CCT in Anaesthesia, 2000; PhD, University of Edinburgh. Spinal Mechanisms of Neuropathic Pain. (Supervisor: Prof Arthur Duggan) 1997; FRCA 1994; MBChB, University of Edinburgh 1990; BSc(Hons) 1987.
Since undertaking a basic science PhD during her anaesthesia training, she has aimed to ensure that clinical practice is informed by research, and that current research is relevant to the challenges faced in clinical pain management. Recognising the importance of cross discipline collaboration, she was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Translational Research in Pain (ETRiP) collaboration, set up in 2000. The aim was to bring together clinicians and basic scientists from a range of backgrounds to effectively translate novel basic science findings to clinical benefit. This developed, with successful grant applications and publications. In Dundee, working with Profs Blair Smith (Population Health) and Tim Hales (Neuroscience), the aim is to progress pain research, using an iterative approach to understand and improve management of challenging clinical pain syndromes. This includes collaboration with Irene Tracey, from Oxford, using fMRI to better understand clinical pain syndromes, such as chemotherapy induced neuropathy and multiple sclerosis.
She has been on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Anaesthesia since 2005, and an Editor since 2010, handling up to 150 manuscripts per year, as well as being involved in strategic planning for the journal. She is the main editor for a special pain issue (May2019) on Advances in Pain Medicine, with a current call out for original research papers (https://www.journals.elsevier.com/british-journal-of-anaesthesia/call-for-papers/bja-special-issue-on-pain-medicine-call-for-papers). A previous Pain Special issues she edited featured on BBC Breakfast TV 17/06/2013). The impact factor has increased steadily from 4.22 in 2010 (3rd out of 26 journal) to 6.499 in 2018 (one of the top ranked journals in this category).
She has been on the National Steering Group for Chronic Pain, since its inception in 2008, now the National Advisory Committee for Chronic Pain. She chairs the Scottish Pain Research Community (SPaRC)/ NRS Pain Research Network (see https://www.nhsresearchscotland.org.uk/research-areas/pain), and represents Scotland on the NIHR CRN for Pain. She chaired the SIGN Guideline development group for Management of Chronic Pain (SIGN 136), published in 2013, and is currently updating the opioids section, in light of new evidence.
She is also a member of SIGN Council, and represents SIGN on the Scottish Board of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. She was previously Specialty Advisor for Chronic Pain, to the Chief Medical Officer. Through this role she co-chaired a new guideline for the Management of Chronic Pain in Children and Young People (see https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/03/8609).