We Are Randox | Christopher McNally climbs the career leader from Placement to PhD

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We Are Randox | Christopher McNally climbs the career leader from Placement to PhD

The name Christopher McNally may be one that you already recognise. In 2016 he earned 1st place in the Science category of the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards, having caught the attention of Senior Management for his pioneering work developing a new diagnostic for pancreatic cancer.

Fast-forward two years and Christopher is now back at Randox as a PhD student, conducting research in prostate cancer as part of the recently-announced Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy.

We sat down with Chris to hear all about his revolutionary prostate cancer project, what motivated him to sign up to our PhD Academy and what it’s like to be back in the place where his scientific career began.

Here’s Chris’ story.

I came into Randox when I was just 19 years old for my third year at university as part of the company’s year-long placement programme. It was a great way to truly experience a working laboratory outside of the classroom and really cemented my desire to work in biomedical science.  

I was lucky enough to be placed in the company’s Donegal branch, Randox Teoranta, which is close to where I grew up in Gartan, and offered me the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking medical research surrounded by my home of Donegal.

I would highly recommend the opportunity to perform an industrial placement to anyone. It helps you to prepare for what comes after university, develops your skills in the area in which you are interested, and refines your laboratory techniques. I was delighted to hear I won in the Science Category of the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards during my time there as well, and this really inspired a confidence in me that I had become a talented scientist even before I graduated.

When I completed my fourth year of studies at Ulster University, I graduated with a degree in Biomedical Science and Professional Practice, and returned to work for Randox. The traits and qualities I learned during my placement had subsequently brought me to post-graduate employment, and I was thrilled. I was lucky enough to be able to walk straight back into the lab knowing exactly what to do and how to do it.

Despite becoming employed within Randox straight out of university however, I had this feeling that I was not finished with regards to academic study. I knew I wanted to do more, to perform more research. So, when I heard about the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy I really was intrigued. It was the perfect platform to further my studies and be able to give more to the scientific community.

When choosing the area of research for my PhD I was keen to hear more about a collaborative prostate cancer project led by two of Northern Ireland’s leading cancer researchers Dr Mark Ruddock (Randox) and Dr Declan McKenna (Ulster University). From my time at university and my time spent at Randox, I thought I could bring my experience and knowledge in cancer research into this project, so I thought, let’s go for it. 

Ultimately, the project involves looking at prostate cancer patients as well as patients who have other non-serious prostate conditions, and recognising any potential differences in the two. We can then develop a clinical diagnostic test that can identify the men at the highest risk of prostate cancer and stratify the patients accordingly.

The earlier we can do this, the quicker a patient can be treated, or not treated as the case may be. Overdiagnosis is a significant problem in prostate cancer care and many men, who do not have prostate cancer, but present with prostate cancer-like symptoms, unfortunately go through invasive, uncomfortable and most importantly, unnecessary procedures.

This work therefore has real potential to improve the management of prostate cancer, which is currently the most common cancer in males within the UK. It’s a very rewarding field to be working in and I thoroughly enjoy the work I’m doing knowing that it will have a real-life impact on many men. I’m very proud to be able to say that my PhD research will really make a difference and I now know for certain that I will continue working in cancer research after my project is complete.

Knowing that I’m helping to improve the quality of patient’s lives brings a great deal of satisfaction that few jobs can replicate and I’m excited to see what the next three years will bring.

We’re very proud of Christopher and the amazing work he is doing in prostate cancer research, and are delighted that he has made the decision to join the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy.

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com

To find out more about the Randox-Ulster University PhD Academy, please email randoxpr@randox.com

 

 

 

 

 


We Are Randox | Ciaran Richardson

What makes Randox the successful, innovative and forward-thinking company it is today are the passionate, hard-working and talented staff we’re lucky enough to call our colleagues.

Our staff are our best asset and across every division our team help to save lives – whether it be designing the newest Biochip to test for Alzheimer’s disease, developing the latest software for use in hospitals and universities or managing our global offices, to ensure our pioneering health technologies make their way across the world to where they are needed the most.

Our headquarters are in Northern Ireland, but we have teams based all over the world, including in Donegal, Ireland, where Dr Ciaran Richardson heads up the Research and Development Team.

We sat down with Ciaran to ask him about his role in Randox, to find out what inspired him to become a scientist, and of course to discover what makes working in Randox Teoranta in Donegal so special.

 

Ciaran, can you tell us a little bit about your role at Randox Teoranta?

My name is Ciaran Richardson and I am the Research and Development Manager at the Randox Teoranta facility based in Dungloe in County Donegal.  I have some operational responsibilities at the facility but I primarily focus on working closely with the Research and Development scientists here. They use unique Randox technologies to develop next-generation diagnostic tests for prevalent human diseases such as stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, chronic kidney disease, gastrointestinal disorders and thyroid disease.  What’s particularly interesting is that we don’t focus exclusively on human conditions. The team at Randox Teoranta is constantly evaluating new technologies and methodologies with a view to continuous evolving how we approach our work and we are currently developing veterinary diagnostic tests.

 

What kind of research takes place at Randox Teoranta?

More than 50% of the workforce in Dungloe are employed in Research and Development positions.  Our teams of R&D scientists are using a world-first technology that is unique to Randox called Biochip Array Technology.  This technology allows you to place multiple diagnostic tests on a single biochip and this can then be used to test for many different biomarkers in a sample of blood.  This is in stark contrast to traditional diagnostic methods that perform one test at a time on a sample of blood.

But it’s not only scientific research that we undertake at Randox Teoranta.  It is critically important that our hardware keeps pace with the new diagnostic tests that we are developing.  We have a highly skilled team of R&D Engineers that are developing next generation diagnostic analyser systems for Randox. We have electronic, mechanical, embedded systems and software disciplines all working together to develop new analysers that enable effective and accurate reporting of results from our diagnostic tests.

We also have significant manufacturing capabilities at the site in Dungloe.  We have a dedicated department for manufacture of the Randox biochips and a further department for manufacture of the Randox family of analyser systems.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I manage a broad spectrum of R&D projects so my days can be quite varied. I could be meeting with our different scientific teams or managing ongoing projects that we have with various collaborators throughout the world.  R&D is a rewarding but challenging field and it is very important that we react quickly to problems as they arise.  I therefore spend lots of my time meeting with the scientists to review data so that we can make strategic decisions to move things forward as efficiently as we can.

 

Did you always want to be a scientist?

The short answer is no. My father was a businessman and my mother was a teacher, but she said I didn’t have the patience to be a teacher. I must admit she was probably right! My passion for science came to the fore when I studied Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at Pobalscoil Chloich Cheannfhaola in Falcarragh. I went on to study Biotechnology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and then undertook my PhD studies in Cancer Research at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff.  I then spent the next five and a half years working at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee.

When our first daughter was born in Dundee we decided we wanted to move back to Donegal but my job prospects there, as a scientist, were slim. I did, however, apply for a role in Randox’s County Antrim headquarters which I was delighted to get. 18 months later, I was asked to become the R&D manager at a brand new Randox site in West Donegal.  The rest, as they say, is history. Science can be a challenging career but it is extremely rewarding to think that the work we do at Randox Teoranta has the potential to not only improve people’s lives, but extend them far beyond expectancy.

What’s your favourite thing about working here?

My drive to work is surrounded by the most fantastic scenery. I feel privileged that I have been provided with an opportunity to return home to west Donegal to take up such a challenging and exciting position in the field of science just 20 minutes from my doorstep in Gweedore.

Working at Randox Teoranta allows me to spend more time with my family as I have such a short commute and I haven’t had to re-settle my family from our native Donegal for me to follow my career dreams. We have four children and a dog so you can imagine how busy things can be! When I get home in the evening I enjoy spending time with my wife and children.  I work hard during the week and then the weekend is family time.

 

Can I find my dream career at Randox Teoranta?

We’re expanding our workforce which means there are plenty of opportunities at Randox Teoranta. From placement student roles to permanent positions, we’re always on the lookout for the right candidates in various different fields – from manufacturing to research and development, administration to mechanical, electrical and electronic design engineering and software development to administration. At Randox Teoranta, we’re involved in world-leading science and technology every day. It’s amazing to think that your dream role in global innovation could be right on your doorstep in beautiful Donegal.

 

We are delighted that Ciaran has found his dream job with us at Randox in his native Donegal. He is a real asset to our global healthcare company and we’re proud to have him as part of our team.

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com

 

 

 

 

 


We Are Randox | Carole Smyth’s Girl Guides Adventures

We’re passionate about celebrating the kindness and generosity of our Randox employees. Each have their own unique and interesting story to tell and many give up their spare time to support their local community and help those in need.

Their compassion and commitment is what makes Randox the successful company it is today, and nobody demonstrates this better than our Logistics Team Leader, Carole Smyth.

Carole volunteers her time as Unit Leader of 2nd Antrim Girl Guides, a group of girls and young women who together, take part in activities designed to help them reach their potential and take an active and responsible role in the world around them.

As we continue our #WeAreRandox series of staff stories, we are delighted to have found out about the work Carole does with the Girl Guides.

We love getting to know the hobbies and interests that make our colleagues who they are, and hope that Carole’s story encourages other members of our team to consider some voluntary work in their local community.

By the sounds of it, Carole thinks it is an incredibly rewarding experience. Here’s her story.

 

I’ve been involved in the Girl Guides for 11 years now, having been encouraged to join by my sister-in-law Donna.

The organisation is entirely led by volunteers and therefore reliant on people signing up to commit to a few hours a week delivering Girl Guide activities.

My role as Unit Leader of 2nd Antrim Guides, along with two other leaders, is to ensure the girls have a varied programme and can gain access to activities they wouldn’t normally have access to. This can vary from arts and crafts to science workshops, cooking to camping, and dancing to orienteering.

Each activity aims to promote skills in the likes of leadership, listening, sharing and above all, developing the courage to take on new adventures and exciting challenges.

And it’s not just the girls who get the chance to embark on these adventures. Given my fear of heights, zip lining wasn’t exactly high up on my to do list, but when you have a group of Guides giving you “gentle” encouragement, what can you do?

Another highlight with the Girl Guides for me was June last year when I attended the Trooping of the Colour for the Queen’s birthday. Along with a few other leaders and girls, we were given access the Youth Enclosure at the entrance to Horse Guards Parade – a prime viewing spot to see the Royal Family. Then we were escorted to Buckingham Palace up the Mall, and even made it on to TV (if you don’t blink at that specific 0.1 second moment!)

The whole procession was just amazing and it was so special to be able to share this memory with my two daughters, one of whom is a Rainbow (ages 4-7) and the other a Brownie (ages 7-10). As a parent, I love that through Brownies they have the opportunity to meet girls from other backgrounds and beliefs, and as I mentioned before, learn new skills and take part in lots of different activities, as well as earn Guiding-specific awards. From First Aid and World Cultures to Singing and Chocolate (yes you can gain a Chocolate badge – what’s not to love?), all of these awards look great on the girls’ CVs or university application forms.

 And if you volunteer to be a leader, you can also study for new qualifications – in first response, hiking, catering or Duke of Edinburgh, to name but a few. Personally though, my favourite thing about being a Girl Guides leader is the opportunity to see the girls grow and develop during their time with us. I am able to witness shy girls gaining more confidence, girls with learning difficulties or health complications taking part in different activities that they would normally shy away from, and in general, just seeing all our girls enjoying their time together and making lasting friendships.

It sounds corny but I myself have also met lots of fantastic leaders during the last 11 years who I can now call lifelong friends. The bonds we as leaders, and the girls, make when we go away on our annual day trips, overnight stays, and camping adventures are quite unique.

This year our unit is attending an outdoor camp (our first overnight outdoor experience!) along with other units from our county. Last year, we took our Guides to Dunluce Guide House for our unit holiday and enjoyed a spot of horse riding, and last November we took part in UK Parliament Week by attending an evening at Stormont, where we met Arlene Foster.  A few of our girls also took part in an activity day organised by Ulster Rugby at which they learned some basic rugby skills and had the opportunity to interact with Guides from all over Ulster.

The activities we offer to our Girl Guides are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and I am proud that I am part of such a special organisation.

 

We’re very proud of Carole and the amazing work she does with Girl Guides, and are delighted that she has taken the time to share her story with us.

If you would like some further information on Girl Guiding, you can visit www.girlguiding.co.uk to register your interest.

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

 For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com

 

 

 

 


We Are Randox | Environmental Manager Charles McGonagle on protecting local wildlife

As a global company with its roots firmly planted in Northern Ireland’s glorious countryside, we’re extremely proud of the beautiful scenery that surrounds our County Antrim headquarters.

With an abundance of flora, fauna and natural wildlife living on the shores of Lough Neagh – where we have our offices – we know the importance of looking after the environment. After all, at Randox HQ we are lucky enough to admire the view from our office windows every day.

That’s why we have a dedicated Environmental Management team at Randox – whose role it is to prevent pollution, reduce waste, recycle consistently, and in general, to control and reduce the risks to air, land and water.

In this month’s #WeAreRandox interview, we chat to Charles McGonagle, Randox Environmental Manager, about a typical day in his job, the importance of respecting your local environment, and what it is that makes his career so worthwhile.

Here’s Charles’ story.

We’re very lucky that at Randox we get to work in such a beautiful part of the Northern Irish countryside. Our headquarters are located just outside Crumlin, near the International Airport, and sit just on the edge of Lough Neagh, the biggest lake in UK and Ireland.

It was recently named one of the Top 100 global sustainable destinations – an initiative which aims to recognise tourism destinations that have worked hard to make a difference and take sustainability seriously. And that’s certainly what we do here at Randox.

We take our environmental responsibility very seriously, not only because of our location, but also because we owe much of our 35 years of success to the support from the local community in which Randox was raised – so we like to give back when we can.

Each year our team plant a new area of trees around Lough Neagh, to make sure the area continues to develop and flourish. In addition to its rich collection of trees, badgers, squirrels, insects and mushrooms, there are also 100,000 birds who flock to Lough Neagh during the winter, coming from places as far away as Canada, Iceland and Russia, and we’re passionate about maintaining this sort of wildlife diversity in the Lough.

Everyone at Randox has their role to play in achieving this aim – not just the Environmental team. A typical day for me would involve a site visit to a particular area of the company, to monitor its activity and environmental performance, and identify areas for improvement, so every day I’m in a different area, learning something new and interesting about the company.  With such diversity in the activities and processes the environmental team are involved in, everyone across the company gets the opportunity to review and evaluate their impact on the environment.

Whether a scientist or marketer, manufacturing operative or salesperson, we all make an effort to reduce our waste where we can – for example by turning off our computers, heating and lighting when not in use, and maintaining our equipment properly so we maximise their efficiency. In our attempts to reduce our atmosphere emissions and energy use, every little helps!

Our engineering and manufacturing team, in particular, take environmental factors into consideration daily – whether the material they have chosen is environmentally friendly, if their processes are efficient and if waste material can be recycled.

And our training department has also recently moved onto a paperless data management system to reduce our impact on the environment even more.

I think that’s one of the most rewarding things about my job – seeing people get involved and engaged in ways in which we can improve our environmental friendliness. As someone who is passionate about protecting and improving the environment – I studied Environmental Management at university and then worked with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute – I feel very lucky to work in a company which places such importance on looking after the environment and reducing its carbon footprint.

Randox are constantly trying to find more ways to reduce environmental impact, contribute to the reduction of global CO2 emissions, and make sure that this area of outstanding natural beauty in County Antrim is preserved for many generations to come.

 

For further information on what we do at Randox to protect the local environment, please contact the Randox PR Team: phone 028 9442 2413 or email randoxpr@randox.com 

 


We Are Randox | Meet the team in Bangalore, India

Here at Randox, we’re a diverse bunch, spread over 145 countries in the world. We have more than 1400 employees of 44 nationalities, including 300 research scientists and engineers. Needless to say, the Randox family is a multicultural one!

We have four key manufacturing and R&D sites – in County Antrim, Northern Ireland; Dungloe, County Donegal, Ireland; Bangalore, India; and the Greater Washington DC area, in the U.S. This month, our We Are Randox article focuses on the team in Bangalore.

Randox India, located alongside other high-tech industries based in Bangalore, consists of 37 office staff and 77 field staff, including customer support engineers and sales managers. A base for administration, sales and manufacturing in India, the Bangalore site, set in the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, services the 3.3 million square kilometre country.

Photographed are members of the Randox team in Bangalore from the following departments;

  • Accounts and Finance
  • Customer Support Engineers
  • Logistics and Trading
  • Manufacturing
  • Quality Control
  • Research & Development
  • Administration
  • Travel
  • Human Resources

Brian Walsh, Manufacturing Manager at Randox India, said:

“The photograph below was taken during this year’s Diwali, which is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. Danny Maguire, who is based in Ardmore at Randox HQ, was over on business at the time and joined us in celebrating this cultural tradition.

“It is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, and spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

“We all really enjoyed having Danny with us and sharing some of our customs and values with him, many of which our team members based in other sites across Randox would not know about.

“We hope to welcome many more of our colleagues from across the globe to Randox India in the near future!”

Want to know what it’s like to work in Bangalore? Read all about when we met up with Pankaj Chitkara, who is our National Sales Manager for the RX Series in India.

For further information on the Randox Bangalore team, please contact the Randox PR team via email: randoxpr@randox.com or phone 028 9442 2413


Staff Newsletter November / December 2017 Edition

Staff Newsletter September / October 2017 Edition

We are delighted to be able to share with you the November / December 2017 edition of our We Are Randox staff newsletter!

Click through for a range of company and staff news from the past two months – including Randox Health’s successful prostate awareness campaign during Movember, our attendance at Medica 2017, Randox Teoranta’s Open Day in Donegal and of course our annual Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Raffle – at which we raised a hugely impressive £4030!

** Please note that image links work most efficiently in your Google Chrome browser**

 

 


We Are Randox | John Fitzgerald wins Ulster University awards for Master’s degree project with Randox

Here at Randox, we’re proud of the talented and innovative teams we have at all our sites. One of our talented engineers at Randox Teoranta recently won a prize for his final year university project in collaboration with Randox. John Fitzgerald, an Electronic Design Engineer, was presented with two awards from Ulster University on Thursday 7th December 2017 – the Civica Prize for excellence in his final project and the Institute of Engineering Technology Prize for achieving the highest grades in his class.

We caught up with John to hear all about it;

A very well done on your awards, John! Tell us about your final project for which you won the Civica Prize.

Firstly it is important to note that my final year project was conducted in conjunction with Randox Teoranta. Without the support, resources and encouragement from the exceptional Research & Development Engineering team here in Dungloe, my project would not have been such a success.

My final year project centred on the design of an industry-standard compact dry bath incubator, designed for the heating and cooling of small volume samples. With a simple and compact design, broad and precise temperature range, the intended use of the product was for bench-top laboratory incubations. The design also incorporated innovative, yet modest, capacitive touch pad controls and a digital display to provide confident temperature selection and accuracy.

This design project required design capabilities in three core engineering disciplines, electronic, embedded and mechanical engineering.

Were you surprised to learn you’d won an award for the project?

Yes, definitely! I was surprised when I received an email at the end of November, informing me that I was to receive the award. I can recall the quality of projects that were on show so this was a complete surprise to me.

I invested a great effort in this project and I’m proud of the personal and academic goals I’ve attained, however, the works achieved would not have been possible without the generous investment of advice from various different sources. I wish to take this opportunity to express my genuine appreciation and thanks to them all.

Thank you to Randox – the industrial knowledge and resources they provided for this wrk added significantly to the quality and relevance of my project to the real world. A special word of thanks, too, should also be afforded to my final year supervisor in Ulster University for the consistent academic support he delivered throughout the course of this MEng final year project.

Did you always want to be an engineer?

To be perfectly honest, the answer to this question is no. I was very uncertain for a long time what career I wanted to pursue as a secondary school student. I was never really exposed to the engineering profession and the wide variety of career paths it can lead to so engineering wasn’t something I immediately thought of when I was thinking of careers I would enjoy.

My father has a lot to answer for though – he was a tool-maker by trade and he instilled a significant interest in engineering and basic electronics in me, and is probably one of the primary reasons I felt a career in electronic engineering was the correct path for me. I decided to apply for my university placement year at Randox Teoranta in the Electronic Engineering team.

After just a few months in to my placement at Randox Teoranta, I knew I had made the correct career choice. I was Randox Teoranta R&D Engineering’s first university placement student, and that I could live at home in Donegal for the year and still receive a first class industrial experience.

How did you find your placement year at Randox?

My placement experience at Randox Teoranta was first class. I was afforded every opportunity to develop and grow my engineering skills. As my competency grew, so did my responsibilities and the complexity of jobs afforded to me.

The team of engineers in Randox Teoranta are exceptional professionals and provided excellent guidance to me as a young student engineer. The work I was tasked with was challenging and relevant and a considerable amount of the work I contributed to, remains in some form in the final Misano analyser that is manufactured today in Dungloe.

I cannot stress enough how important my placement year at Randox Teoranta was for me upon returning for my final two years of university. It provided me with a clear career path and I discovered a passion for Printed Circuit Board Design that I would not have been exposed to, if it were not for this placement.

I was extremely grateful to be offered a graduate position during my placement year on completion of my degree. This security made my final two years at university much more comfortable and also allowed me to discuss with the company the potential to complete my final year project in conjunction with Randox Teoranta. The opportunity to continue my learning and professional development as part of such a progressive and diverse engineering environment was an easy decision to make. As an added bonus, I am able to live at home, in the most beautiful part of the country and engage in an extremely rewarding and challenging profession in my field of study all at the same time. I consider myself very fortunate.

Tell us what a typical day is like in your role as Electronic Engineer.

One of the reasons I enjoy being an Electronic Engineer with Randox Teoranta to such a high degree, is the same reason that makes this question quite difficult to answer.

It is hard to categorise a typical day in my role as an Electronic Engineer in Randox Teoranta. I spend my time on a wide variety of duties or tasks depending on the design needs of the engineering team. I could be spending my time designing circuit schematics for new PCB designs, I could be producing the printed circuit board layout of designed circuit schematics, I could be testing new sensors, electronic parts or manufactured PCB’s to verify their performance, I could be engaging in verification and validation work for a new analyser, I could be engaging in the formation of critical design reports, the list can go on and on.

As the cliché goes, “every day is different”, something which is definitely applicable in this scenario.

What advice would you give to young people considering visiting the Randox Teoranta open day on Fri 22nd December?

I would encourage any young person with a remote interest in a career in Science or Engineering to attend the open day on Fri 22nd December. I believe they will be surprised as to the wide variety of professions and opportunities available at their doorstep.

A conversation with an experienced professional could ignite a spark which could provide clarity as to what they would like to pursue in further education, and in turn professionally. This is an opportunity I wish I was afforded as a young person growing up in rural Donegal, and I consider it an opportunity not to be missed for young people with a genuine interest in these exciting professional fields.

 

From all the staff at Randox, congratulations to John on this fantastic achievement. We look forward to seeing the pioneering engineering work you will continue to be part of in the future.

The Randox Teoranta Open Morning is on Friday 22nd December 2017 from 10am – 2pm at Randox Teoranta, Meenmore, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.

To find out more tel: +353 7495 22600 or email: randoxpr@randox.com

Pictured with John Fitzgerald (centre) is Dr. Robert McMurray, course director for MEng Engineering at Ulster University (left), and Angela Canavan, Managing Director of Civica who was present to award the Civica prize (right).


We Are Randox | Randox Apprentice Rory McCloskey Wins Gold at National Competition

A Randox Engineer and Northern Regional College apprentice has been recognised as one of the UK’s most talented young tradesmen at an event organised by Worldskills UK.

Rory McCloskey (21) from Antrim was a gold medal winner at the UK National finals in Birmingham. He was competing with over 500 apprentices, exponents of 55 disciplines – as diverse as Aircraft Maintenance to 3D Game Design, Cabinet Making, Plumbing to Beauty Therapy and Cyber Security.

Rory was recognised for his expertise in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Milling which involves programming, setting and running a modern CNC milling machine to accurately produce a component in a given timeframe.

His journey to the national finals started earlier this year with local College competitions. From here, he progressed through the regional heats and national semi-finals where he finished in the top six in the UK to qualify for the National Worldskills UK 2017 finals which were held in Birmingham from 16 – 18 November.

Rory is a Higher Level Apprentice and works in the engineering department of Randox Laboratories. As a Foundation Degree student at the College’s Ballymena campus, he was trained on state-of-the-art CNC engineering machinery and taught how to program and operate machines such as Mazek, DMG Mori and Doonson, equipment used in modern manufacturing companies throughout Northern Ireland. The College provides education and training in this technology to a wide range of companies, including Ryobi Aluminium Cating, Linamar Montupet, Hutchinson Engineering, Randox Laboratories, McAuley Engineering.

Congratulating Rory on his success, Professor Terri Scott, Chief Executive of Northern Regional College said:

“The award is a great credit to Rory and all the engineering staff at the College and is just reward for all Rory’s hard work and dedication.

“The College has a proud and prestigious tradition of education and training in the field of engineering and I am delighted to see that our provision continues to deliver a consistently high standard.”

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented;

“We are incredibly proud of Rory and what he has achieved at the National Worldskills UK 2017 finals. Our apprentices from both the Northern and Southern Regional College are such talented individuals and so we are delighted to be able to offer them the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking research and development with us as they grow and develop in their careers.

“And the apprenticeship scheme is highly valued by the company – just as our students benefit from the time they spend with us, so too do we as a modern and innovative healthcare firm benefit from the fresh perspectives and forward-thinking ideas these students bring to Randox. 

Passionate and hard-working people like Rory make Randox what it is today.  We’re extremely grateful for his contributions to the engineering team here and equally proud of his achievements.  Congratulations Rory.”

Northern Regional College was well represented at the National Worldskills UK finals. Rory was one of seven students from the College’s Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey campuses to qualify for the final stage of the competition.

The other College finalists were: Dean Boyle, who was rewarded a bronze medal in CNC Milling; Matthew McLaughlin, who was highly commended in Graphic Design; Ryan Moon and Richard Woods (Mechatronics); James McCaughey (IT Software); Patrick McCloskey (Carpentry).

 

For further information about Rory’s award or to find our more about our apprenticeship programme please email randoxpr@randox.com 


We Are Randox | Parkinson’s disease documentary leads to Film Festival Award for R&D Scientist Carol Naughton

Behind the doors of Randox, ground breaking scientific research is happening.

From Alzheimer’s disease to gastro-intestinal disorders, bladder cancer to cardiovascular disease, diabetes to kidney injury, our team of R&D scientists work on pioneering research projects in the areas of health that matter most, and ultimately, they save lives.

This week, we spoke to Carol Naughton, R&D Scientist in our Randox Teoranta team in Donegal, who has recently been part of an award-winning film documentary which aims to let people into the minds, the labs and the projects of scientists working on pioneering health research like that which takes place in Randox.

The film project, called ‘Feats of Modest Valour’, focuses on the lives of three individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Brian, Tom and Milena, and on a team of scientists working to find a cure for the condition. Aiming to bridge the gap between scientists and the very people the research will have the most impact on, Carol explains how working with Parkinson’s disease sufferers was the most humbling experience of her life.

Here’s Carol’s story.

 

The opportunity to be involved with Feats of Modest Valour (FOMV) was a gradual one. It was towards the end of my PhD when my supervisor, Dr. Eilis Dowd was awarded a grant as part of an EU consortium called Horizon 2020, with a new initiative to cure Parkinson’s disease. One of the remits of being in receipt of this grant was a community outreach programme called Science on Screen, and because of this, the Feats of Modest Valour documentary was born. It was commissioned by the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) and the Galway UNESCO City of Film and Galway Film Centre.

Several projects were pitched to film makers to connect with the general public, and as a result of our pitch which revolved around the gene-environment interaction and increased susceptibility in Parkinson’s disease, ISHKA Films (Alice McDowell and Mia Mullarkey) production company decided to focus on our work. As part of the Horizon 2020 grant, the brain mattrain project is focussing on the development of a new biomedical device for Parkinson’s disease which will, for the first time, target the underlying cause of Parkinson’s disease rather than purely addressing the motor symptoms.

One of the most appealing aspects of the project was the platform for engaging with the general public. There is so much fascinating research being performed for a host of diseases all over Ireland but yet there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between that and the very people who the research will have the most impact on.

This was something we were very interested in when we hosted a conference in Galway in 2014. For the NECTAR (Network for European CNS Transplantation and Restoration) conference, which brings together a unique audience of clinicians and scientists from all over the world to disseminate their research and results of clinical trials. We wanted to do something different, to broaden the scope of the conference, so we integrated a patient-oriented focus into the programme.  The founder of Cure Parkinson’s UK, Tom Isaacs (1968-2017), who was diagnosed with the disease when he was only 27, attended the event and spoke passionately about trying to bridge the gap between clinicians, scientists and patients.  Being part of FOMV gave us the opportunity to do this, to merge science and real life.

It helped therefore that I had been spending quite a lot of time with Brian and with people from the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland.  It has several branches all over the country so I spent quite a lot of time talking with them, organising charity walks, hosting information days and securing funding for speech and language therapists for them. Considering the wealth of knowledge that you can acquire throughout the course of a PhD, it is really rewarding being able to give something back.

When I look back, easily the best part about FOMV was spending time with people with Parkinson’s disease. It is quite easy to forget the bigger picture, the reason why you set out to do research in the first place. This was an opportunity for me to interact with people who were suffering with Parkinson’s disease and talk with them and explain to them about our research. The platform for relaying scientific research to the general public is definitely an under-utilised one. For the majority of research, people do not know what is going on. When the tailor for the documentary was first shown to people, the most common response you heard back was: “I can’t believe this is happening on our backdoor,” or “That was so easy to follow and to understand,” or “Why don’t more scientists do this to explain their research to us?”

Our documentary was recently submitted to a film festival in New York called the Imagine Science Films (ISF) festival, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The select jury included Nobel prize-winning scientist Professor Martin Chalfe, and award-winning science columnist for the New York Times, Professor Carl Zimmer.

We were absolutely delighted when FOMV won The Scientist Award, which is awarded to a film that portrays, accurately and importantly inventively, the life of a scientist. The goal of this award is to encourage more scientists to create films that let people into their minds, into their labs and into their lifestyle. In addition to the top science award, FOMV was also awarded runner up People’s Choice Award. This award is presented to the documentary that receives the most audience votes during the festival.

Being part of Feats of Modest Valour was definitely one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. I have met so many people who suffer with Parkinson’s disease and in the face of such a relentless disease, they have such incredible resolve to make the most of their lives. We tend to take so much for granted and forget to appreciate the little things. And while that sounds very clichéd, Milena, Brian and Tom are no longer in a position to do that. They live a completely clockwork existence based around the particular time when they take their medication. And even then, their days are more bad than good.

That’s why the title of the documentary ‘Feats of Modest Valour’ is based on a poem called ‘No signs of struggle,’ by an American poet named Robin Morgan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease;

“You can spot it in the provocation of a button, an arm poking at a sleeve, a balancing act at a night-time curb while negotiating the dark. Feats of such modest valour, who would suspect them to be exercises in an intimate, fierce discipline, a metaphysics of being relentlessly aware.”

 

Make sure to tune in to RTE One on Sunday 12th of November, when ‘Feats of Modest Valour’ is on at 10.35pm.

For more We Are Randox stories about our amazing colleagues, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow the hashtag #WeAreRandox.

For current vacancies in our team, visit careers.randox.com

 


Staff Newsletter September / October 2017 Edition

Staff Newsletter September / October 2017 Edition

We are delighted to be able to share with you the September / October 2017 edition of our We Are Randox staff newsletter!

Click on the image for a range of company and staff news from the past two months – including the unveiling of our brand new Randox Health Mobile Clinic, attending NCLM China and Apimondia in Turkey, exciting collaborations with Ulster University and Transgene, and of course plenty of photos from our Polo events in Scotland and Bushmills!

** Please note that image links work most efficiently in your Google Chrome browser**


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