The RX series celebrate Medical Laboratory Professional Week

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Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is taking place this year from 24th-30th April 2017. This is an annual celebration of professionals working in the laboratory, highlighting and recognising their contributions to medicine and healthcare.

To celebrate Medical Laboratory Professionals Week the RX series interviewed Emmett Donnelly, one of our R&D Scientists at Randox to find out more about what his job in the lab entails day-to-day. Emmett works with the RX series of clinical chemistry analysers and Randox reagents on a daily basis to develop or improve new tests for the market.

We asked Emmett a few questions about his life as a scientist. See what he gets up to in Randox on a daily basis …

What attracted you to a career in laboratory science?

I have always been interested in science and around the time of GCSEs I had a fantastic science teacher that made the subject interesting and easy, so from there I wanted to follow some kind of Science related career. When I learned about the role of Biology and Chemistry in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics I wanted to become more involved in that area.

What were you good at in school?

I was always interested in science so did well in these subjects. I also did well in maths and loved technology class. I took sciences to A’ level and liked languages so took French at A level too. I was never really that interested in history or arts so these were never my strong points come exam times.

What do you do in your job for Randox?

I am primarily involved in the Development and improvement of new reagents making sure that they work to a high standard on our automated analysers. I am also involved in troubleshooting product and customer queries, transfer work onto new analysers and some formulation of products.

Can you tell us an example of your daily routine as an R&D scientist?

I’m usually involved in a project so I work through all the data that needs to be generated for that. However product and customer queries may come through the lab and this would take priority. Other studies such as stress studies and stability may need done at the same time every week and is therefore scheduled. I am dealing with emails, calls throughout the day and more recently mentoring of graduate and placement students.

What is your favourite test to perform & why?

I like several tests. I like simple tests such as ALP, AST and Creatinine designed to monitor the health of our vital organs. I also like tests such as IGs designed to test for infection and Therapeutic Drug tests like Valproic acid and Theophylline used to monitor patient response to therapies.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

I generally like being involved in an area that improves people’s wellbeing. It’s nice to develop a new product and get it performing to a point that can be used in the market especially if it is something that has never been produced before.

What are some common preconceived ideas the public have about what laboratory staff do?

I think the public have little knowledge of what happens in a lab. They have an interest but tend not to question in detail what staff do because they perhaps think that the work is too complex for them to understand. I also think that the public isn’t aware that practically everything they use in daily life has been developed in a laboratory environment and fail to see the link between primary testing and the final product.

In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of laboratory work?

It is important that all work is carried out in accordance to Standard Operating Procedures to keep in line with Regulatory criteria. It is also important that the analyst knows their exact aims and have the right technical knowledge to achieve these aims. It is especially important to keep with deadlines as well if the Laboratory work is business based.

What are common errors of pipetting?

FinnPipettes require routine maintenance so it’s important that they are calibrated and maintained properly. When using them it’s important that liquid is removed and dispensed slowly to avoid air bubbles. Too fast and air will be introduced into the plastic tip resulting in inaccurate volumes. It’s also important that with viscous liquids not to forget to remove excess liquid from the tip. Users also sometimes place pipettes on the bench horizontally with the tip on resulting in material finding its way into the pipette. Slow adjustment of the volume control will prolong the life of the pipette. With normal pipetting it’s important to always read the liquid meniscus at the required reading.

What’s in your lab coat pocket?

I have a calculator, a couple of pens and a marker though I have a habit of losing mine so they probably belong to my work mates.

In what ways does your work make a difference to people’s lives?

For me my work supports the old saying Prevention is better than cure. The use of Diagnostic reagents help detect the development of disease at an early stage and therefore enable something to be done about it early. In addition, the reagents can be used to monitor treatment during illness as the results will tell if treatment is working.

Emmett is a fundamental member of the Randox team and plays an essential role in the diagnosis and prevention of disease through research and development of new tests. Without our valuable laboratory team working extremely hard behind the scenes the lifesaving work we do here at Randox would not be possible.

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