Kay is the Senior Research Manager for critical care research within the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, based at University Hospital Southampton, UK. Kay is also a key member of the team organizing medical research expeditions at the University College London (UCL) Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment (CASE) Medicine. These have included the Caudwell Xtreme Everest expedition (2007) and Xtreme Everest 2, which took place in March 2013. These expeditions involve using healthy volunteers to improve our understanding of the effects of hypoxia, and thus develop treatments to improve outcomes. A key feature is the use of CPET to examine oxygen efficiency and utilisation, and Kay helped deliver CPET testing on a number of the expeditions.
Kay also set up and developed the clinical cardiopulmonary exercise testing service at the Whittington and UCL hospitals in London in 2007 in collaboration with Professor Mike Grocott. In addition, Kay is the Southampton NIHR BRC Training Lead for NMAHPs, and an NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse Research Leader.
Kay studied at the Oxford School of Nursing before completing a BSc in Human Sciences at UCL. She has worked as an intensive care nurse at UCLH and the Homerton hospital in London, focusing on practice development and education. She completed her MSc in Adult Critical Care at Imperial College London in 2007. She moved her base to Southampton in August 2012, and is undertaking a PhD in epigenetic markers of good and poor adaptation to hypoxia.