Twin Volunteer Advisory Panel (VAP)

In 2009 we established the twin volunteer advisory panel (VAP) to ensure that we take the opinions and views of our volunteers on board during the development and running of research programmes at the DTR. The VAP consists of 12 members who live in or near London and travel to St Thomas’ for 2 meetings a year, and 12 members from across the United Kingdom who correspond by email and phone only. Membership lasts for 2 years. The current panel will be advising the DTR until July 2018 after which members of TwinsUK will be invited to apply for positions on the new panel. The panel is chaired by Dr Juliette Harris, Research Associate & Engagement / Communications Manager at the DTR.

What does the VAP do?

The VAP fulfils a wide variety of roles including…

  • – Advising on new research protocols and clinical studies
  • – Piloting questionnaires
  • – Reviewing newsletters / recruitment letters / communications
  • – Discussing ethical issues
  • – Providing advice on the best ways to engage members of TwinsUK in our research and engagement programme


The panel is representative of the twin registry; including identical and non-identical twins and male and female twins of different ages. Only one twin in a pair can be on the panel at any one time.

The role of the VAP can be summarised in the words of a past VAP member “Being a member of the VAP is a unique chance to represent the interests of others…you’ll become a trusted consultant within the context of a busy and world-leading science organisation.” To read more about what it’s like to volunteer on the advisory panel, please CLICK HERE.

Quotes from past members of the VAP…

“I liked the opportunity to help shape the research of the department having participated in their research for so long and being able to directly speak to Dr Harris and other members of the team.”

“I enjoyed being able to put forward my ideas and share my experiences and it was really good to learn more about the department and how the twins’ contribution is used and valued.

“.. meeting “faces” behind the names…and most importantly feeling a part of the bigger picture that is the DTR”

“It made me feel more involved in the work of the DTR, and useful! It was good to feel consulted, and to understand how much thought and effort goes into all the research that you do. It was a positive experience, and I’m glad that I was able to take part!”

“It was good to hear the views and experiences first hand of other twins and how this led to lively and interesting debates – all in the line of research”