We Are Randox | Match Report from FinTrU Ulster GAA Inter-Firms Junior Men’s Competition
On Saturday 17th November 2018, hot on the heels of the Randox GAA Ladies team’s glorious competition début, our Men’s team took to the field at the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence, to compete in the Junior Men’s category of the FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms competition.
With our Ladies team having successfully reached the Semi-Finals of the competition the week prior, the pressure was on!
The two Randox Men’s teams were pooled in separate groups with strong opposition in both. Randox Team One faced a tough task with FinTru, Citi and South West College, whilst the second Randox Team were pitted against the GAA Store, Premier Electric and Belfast Lawyers.
Our Randox teams battled hard during this group stage and thanks to a creative team effort as well as some fantastic individual performances, they both made it to the knockout stages of the competition and into the quarter finals. Unfortunately though, the effort put in to make it out of the group stages had claimed a few key players to injury, which left the remaining men with a near impossible task ahead of them in the next stage of the competition
Team One was drawn against FinTru and Team Two against Belfast Lawyers. Regrettably, on the day both teams came out on the wrong side of the results in very competitive games against very experienced and seasoned teams.
John James Fallon, Randox Electrical Engineer and GAA Bainisteoir / Coach, commented;
“As newly-formed teams, who prior to the Inter-Firms competition had never played together before, both the men and ladies should be extremely proud. Fielding players who ranged from experienced to novice, and with only 5 weeks training, to have reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals of our respective categories has been exceptional.
“On behalf of the organising committee I would like to say thank you to Randox and Dr FitzGerald for their assistance in getting the team started, and to St James GAC Aldergrove for the use of their facilities and equipment over the course of the training sessions, as without their help this would not have been possible. Finally, a huge thank you has to go to the participants themselves, as without you there is no Randox GAA club. I’m looking forward to our next season together already.
“This is just the beginning.”
On behalf of everyone at Randox we would like to wish both our Ladies GAA Team and our two Men’s GAA teams a massive congratulations on their impressive performances at the FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms competition.
Their commitment, perseverance and teamwork has been truly inspiring and we are very proud of how they came together to form three very capable and motivated GAA teams. Well done!
For further information on our Randox GAA teams, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you heard about our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November? We’re offering those interested in Software Development, Information Security, Web Design and IT Support the opportunity to have a look around our state-of-the-art IT facilities at the Randox Science Park.
But as a company known throughout the world for its high-quality health diagnostic products, you may have been surprised to hear that we have such wide-ranging roles available in Information Technology.
“Randox? Isn’t that just for scientists?” we hear you say.
We turned to Randox IT Software Developer Scott McPeake for the answer. This is what he said.
“I imagine if you were to ask my friends from my Computer Science course at university, if they previously knew that Randox offers jobs in IT, they would say no.
But really, it’s not surprising when you think about it. Technology underpins everything we do in life. Everything is moving digital, and everything digital involves software in some shape or form.
Even jobs which you assume are predominantly tech-free – let’s say for example, a bus driver – use technology every day. A bus driver relies on technology to administer tickets and to plan their travel routes. It truly is everywhere and it’s only going to expand more.
Without an innovative IT department, Randox wouldn’t be the successful and reputable company it is today. If there was no IT team, there would be no lab equipment, no websites, no apps. Even organisations who don’t specialise in IT still have it as a core function of the company.
In the Software Development team, in particular, we design and develop the software used in laboratories to compare results from instruments and samples against other laboratories, to see how these results compare.
It’s important work, as all our scientists rely on us to be able to do their work in providing blood test results to patients across the world. Our software needs to be operating perfectly to ensure people are getting the correct results and therefore the correct diagnosis. And that’s what makes Randox so reputable.
Access to technologies
Being part of a company that is so well established and successful also means that we get exposed to the latest innovations. With IT influencing so much of what we do here, we’re at the forefront of all projects and developments, and are given access to the most up-to-date technologies to make sure we’re providing the best possible products and user experience for our customers, and can stay head of our competitors.
We’re able therefore to bring to management our ideas about what new software we would like to try, to suggest how it would improve our work. So new software is coming in all the time. I’m currently working with MVC architecture which is a key software framework used widely across the world. It’s definitely something good to get experience in, as is typescript, which although not used as much, is really interesting, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to try something new.
And of course, working in Randox, we also get the opportunity to learn about the science of diagnostics, and in particular the machines on which we’re implementing our software designs, which carry out blood testing in hospitals and laboratories. It’s good to challenge yourself to learn something new.
Teamwork and collaboration
The chance to expand your knowledge and improve your skills repertoire is probably one of my favourite things about working here at Randox. Everyone works really collaboratively and we help each other out when we need it. So if you don’t know something, no one is going to chastise you. Asking for help and advice is actively encouraged because we each have our own strengths and weaknesses and we can help each other to be a better team. Everyone in the Randox IT team is really willing to help and makes time for you if you need it.
I remember on my first day here I was really nervous and I arrived at the door unable to get in because it was locked. Someone in the team immediately came to the door, asked me if I was new and welcomed me in to the building. That instantly set the tone. Everyone was really welcoming, friendly and professional.
And this ability to work together is so crucial. Most days we will be working on the same site but perhaps on different pages so we have to talk to each other to make sure my page doesn’t break theirs and vice versa. Quite often we’ll design the layout of the software collaboratively, and most days we’ll have a morning meeting to discuss our progress.
If we’re creating something new, we’ll draw up the design based on user requirements and create the software to those designs. Or if an existing site doesn’t work properly, we’ll write up the problem, how to solve it, and then push it up to the production server to fix the bugs.
So communication is fundamental, as is problem solving. Being able to keep calm under pressure is also an inherent skill for programming. Deadlines happen; they’re a real thing. You can’t take all day to do something. But it keeps things challenging for us, which is vital, as you don’t want to put your brain to sleep. The work is challenging but solvable, and as I said, you have the team there to help you out and support you.
We all get on really well and the more experienced software developers in the team have been such great mentors to me. If you’re interested in working in IT I would certainly recommend coming along to our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November so that you can meet all of us and have the opportunity to take a tour of our brand-new facilities in the Randox Science Park.
Working in Antrim
The site is really spacious, modern, and easy to get to. For me, coming from Coleraine, I’m just able to get the train to the Antrim station, which is right beside the bus station aswell.
And Antrim has everything you could need. Shops, supermarkets, nice affordable places to live, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. Sometimes we’ll head out as a team in to Antrim for lunch or dinner together, or if we fancy Belfast, it’s just a short journey on the train.
So if you’re interested in a dynamic career in software development, take the trip to Antrim to find out a bit more about what Randox has to offer during our Open Evening on 20th November.
You might not have thought of Randox as a software house but we’re here and we’re working hard to improve healthcare globally!”
To attend the Randox IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November, register for tickets on EventBrite by clicking here.
For further information please contact the Randox PR team by emailing email@example.com or phoning 028 9442 2413
On Saturday 10th November 2018, Randox Ladies GAA team took to the field at the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence, Garvaghey, to compete in the FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms competition.
Catering for all levels of skills and fitness, the Inter-Firms competition is a tournament open specifically to workplaces across Ulster, in which teams can represent their workplace in Gaelic games.
On the day of the tournament, the Randox Ladies were placed in a group alongside Premier Electric, Options IT and FinTrU, and the first 7-a-side group match saw the ladies up against Premier Electric, who from the start proved to be very tough and experienced opponents.
Team Randox met the challenge head on however, and were leading the game from start to finish until a second goal against the run of play narrowly denied the Randox Ladies the win in the last minute of the game.
For their second match of the tournament, the Randox Ladies showed great character and hunger to bounce back and defeat Options IT 2-6 to no score, in what was an outstanding performance. This victory was not without cost though, as the ladies were forced to battle on in spite of a few injuries.
The final group game against financial services company FinTrU proved to be the toughest match for the Randox Ladies. Having played two games back to back, with numerous injuries gained along the way, the game was always going to be a difficult one, but once again the ladies showed a fantastic attitude, battling hard in all areas.
With their exceptional performance in the group stage, the Randox Ladies found themselves in the semi-final of the cup competition against last year’s winners South West College. From the first whistle, the ladies put everything on the line, running themselves into the ground despite injury and fatigue.
SWC picked up a few early points and then scored two goals against the run of play which would have finished off any experienced team, but with minutes remaining Randox admirably battled up the field to score two goals of their own to bring the game to within a score. In the end though the SWC ladies survived to hang on for a narrow win and went head-to-head in the final against eventual tournament winners FinTrU.
Randox Ladies emerged from their GAA début in an impressive third place.
John James Fallon, Randox Electrical Engineer and Bainisteoir / Coach for Randox Ladies GAA Team, commented;
“What the Randox Ladies have done in such a short time is a fantastic achievement. Most have never played Gaelic football before so for them to go out and to be able to keep up with the pace of very experienced players is nothing short of amazing. They should be extremely proud of themselves and with the men’s competition this Saturday the bar has been set extremely high indeed. Well done team!”
The 2018 FinTrU Ulster GAA Football Inter-Firms Junior Men’s Competition will take place on Saturday 17th November at the Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence. We wish our Men’s team all the best!
Left to Right: Christine Maybin, Ciara Shaw, Ashleigh McKinstry, Maria McLaughlin, Rachel Walls, Rebecca Molloy, Maeve McAllister, Rachel McCloy, Amy Best
(Team members missing from photo; Claire Donnelly and Jeanette Doherty)
On Sunday 21st October 2018, a team of brave Randox colleagues faced their fears and took part in a ‘freefall’ abseil from the dome of Victoria Square, Belfast. Scaling the heights of the 147ft, almost 45m drop, our fourteen daring Randox thrill seekers enjoyed views over Belfast before they stepped over the edge of the lilypad and ventured down to the ground floor of one of Belfast’s most recognisable structures.
The event took place as part of Randox’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Month throughout October, which sought to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing among staff members while fundraising for our two charity partners – AWARE NI and Ulster University’s Mind Your Mood. Events in the month have not only included a Victoria Square abseil but also a Wear Yellow Wednesday for World Mental Health Day, a fundraising coffee morning and internal fundraising bake sales along with yoga and relaxation class offers for staff members.
Congratulations to those all abseil participants! While this may be something else ticked off your ‘bucket list’, it also, most importantly, is a fantastic effort in raising awareness and funds for the work of AWARE NI, Northern Ireland’s depression charity.
Well done to everyone with your fundraising. You have all worked very hard and raised a fantastic amount – around £2000 so far and counting!
We hope you enjoy the photographs from the day. If you would still like to donate, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/RANDOXAWARE
Once again, many thanks on behalf of both Randox and AWARE NI to the Randox abseilers for their enthusiasm and fundraising efforts on behalf of both Randox and AWARE NI.
For more information about the abseil or Randox Mental Health & Wellbeing Month, please contact RandoxPR@randox.com.
Today is World Mental Health Day and Randox is getting involved to raise money for our two charity partners – AWARE NI and Ulster University’s Mind Your Mood.
Colleagues across Randox sites in Northern Ireland have been donning yellow in order to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing and also to raise funds for these two fantastic causes.
Wear Yellow Wednesday is part of a series of events taking place at Randox as part of Randox Mental Health & Wellbeing Month – an initiative which encourages staff to take care of their mental wellbeing and seeks to support the work of AWARE NI and Mind Your Mood.
The month also entails a charity ‘freefall’ abseil from the dome of Victoria Square when 14 brave Randox colleagues will scale the heights to raise money for AWARE NI. You can visit their JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/RANDOXAWARE
AWARE NI is the depression charity for Northern Ireland. They have two offices in both Belfast and Derry. AWARE has an established network of 25 support groups in rural and urban areas across the country which are run by trained volunteers. AWARE also deliver mental health and well being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces.
Ulster University’s Mind Your Mood initiative is a service managed by Student Support but designed and delivered by students to have lived experiences of mental health illness. Mind Your Mood was created to help build resilience to avoid mental illness, provide support at the earliest point to avoid progression of mental illness to something more serious and threatening and to build resilience and awareness and provide support to help students with already-diagnosed mental illness.
For more information on Randox Mental Health & Wellbeing Month please contact the Randox PR team on 028 9442 2413 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to our series of We Are Randox staff profiles, we have the opportunity to find out more about our colleagues, and one of our favourite things is when we discover a lesser-known talent, hobby or interest. From top bakers to renowned athletes, dedicated volunteers to inspiring youth leaders, and charity fundraisers to creative artists, many of our staff are just as busy outside of the office as they are in it.
This month, in the search for our next We Are Randox interviewee, we’ve been lucky enough to find not one but five humble musicians working in our midst!
The newly-formed Randox staff band, or BANDOX as they are known to those of us here at Randox, made up of drummer Suzanne Alexander, Rhythm Guitarist Jeremy Parker, Bass Guitarist Scott McKeown, Lead Guitarist Max Brown, and Vocalists Sally Picton and Rebecca Aldous, recently made their début performance at our annual staff fun day, Randox FEST.
After playing an entertaining setlist of both classical and modern musical anthems including Sweet Caroline, Sweet Home Alabama, and Livin’ On A Prayer, for which they received a gallant round of applause and even demands for an encore, the band sat down with us to tell us a little bit more about themselves and to share some interesting anecdotes.
Drummer Suzanne Alexander
Suzanne is an experienced brass player, drummer and percussionist, having played at a number of gigs over the years as part of a brass band and impressively also a céilí band. Suzanne also got married this year. Congratulations Suzanne!
Rhythm Guitarist Jeremy Parker
Jeremy is the newest member of BANDOX, having only joined the group 2 days before their exclusive Randox FEST performance! Not only does Jeremy play guitar in another band called ‘Chivalry is Dead’, but he also plays the trumpet. Something you may not know about Jeremy however – he has been known to preach the odd sermon!
Bass Guitarist Scott McKeown
Matched only by his flair for colourful and bold shirt choices, R&D Product Manager Scott’s skills on the bass guitar have seen him play in rock concerts across the country. The best-dressed member of the Randox Biosciences team, Scott is always ready for a rave.
Lead Guitarist Max Brown
Max is well-known throughout the Randox office for his creativity in our Graphic Design team. Less well-known however, unless you follow him on Instagram, are his skills on the electric guitar. Fun fact about Max – he once had a trial with Sunderland Athletic Football Club while at university but suffered fallen arches and had to withdraw.
Vocalists Sally Picton and Rebecca Aldous
Sally and Rebecca are no strangers to the mic, having performed around the world with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, for which the well-oiled singing duo’s favourite songs to sing are those by ABBA. Rebecca has a bassoon called Bob and Sally used to be a rugby referee.
So there you have it – our staff band! BANDOX will be coming soon to a Randox event near you, so keep an eye out on our social media channels for live performances and exclusive interviews.
For autograph requests or further information, please email email@example.com
It’s that time of year again at Randox when we must say a fond farewell to our placement students as they leave to embark on their final year of study at university. We’re proud to be a key employer of placement students in Northern Ireland, having welcomed a huge 50 students through our doors last year, and are always enthusiastic to see students grow and develop during their time with us.
One such placement student who has this month come to the end of his 50-week placement with us is Thomas Adams, a marketing student at Ulster University.
Thomas joined the Randox Food Diagnostics team in September 2017 as a Placement Marketing Executive. We caught up with him to hear all about his placement year with Randox.
Thomas, why did you want to forge a career in marketing?
I’ve always been a creative person. I remember taking note of advertisements on billboards and on the TV and thinking that creating something like that would be my dream job. Marketing specifically appealed to me because you can incorporate the creativity of advertising while also interacting with the public and assisting sales teams. Variety is the spice of life after all!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, confident and chatty.
I’ve always known Randox as an NI-based global leader in diagnostics, particularly because I studied science at A-level and Randox would have been mentioned from time to time. Marketing at Randox, in particular, really appealed to me because of the scale of the company and all its divisions. I was enthusiastic to gain marketing experience in this high-calibre global company right on my doorstep.
Describe a typical day as a placement marketing executive.
When I come to work in the morning the first thing I do is check all emails and enquiries that have come in overnight to our Customer Relationship Management system and send out new enquiries to sales people stationed across the world. The Randox Food Diagnostics division has customers throughout the globe and there are many international queries that will come in throughout the night because of the different time zones.
The rest of my day is focussed on wine – and no, it’s not what you think!
I manage the marketing activities of the wine testing division of Randox Food Diagnostics. We’re working behind the scenes when you are enjoying a glass of wine with your meal, as have developed a range of high quality analysers and wine testing reagents which aid the wine industry. Quality is at the heart of what we do and we want to ensure the quality of your wine.
I spend much of my time creating fresh and exciting content for our website and social media channels. This could range from information on our wine testing kits, to current news stories in the wine industry.
I also manage the translation of this material into the languages of the various countries around the world in which Randox Food Diagnostics operate. I also take enquiries from our sales team for any new promotional material or market research they require to increase their sales.
How did you come to manage the marketing for the wine division of Randox Food Diagnostics?
When I first started, I was mentored by my team leader who gave me certain tasks specifically in the wine sector, and trained me up on everything I needed to know – helping to ease me in to what was for me, my first full-time job.
After three months, the wine division was then given to me to manage. This meant that I was in control of all marketing campaigns, materials and events for the wine sector. It was so exciting to be given this opportunity and I was delighted to hear that I was doing well, that my team leader was pleased with my progress and that he felt I could be entrusted with the division.
New wine tests need new advertising campaigns and market research and I was delighted to oversee this, as I was able to unleash my creative side in presenting my ideas to the rest of the team. I had to come up with the campaign strapline, the artwork, and the social media strategy, and make decisions about what advertising vehicles were best suited to our target audience – whether it be television, magazines, online or outdoor.
I also had the responsibility of staying up-to-date with the industry’s current market trends while organising our presence at wine events and conferences, such as ‘Unified’ in the U.S. I have found the experience of managing all the different activities of an entire marketing division incredibly insightful and rewarding.
How have you found your placement year at Randox?
I have found my placement year very enjoyable. I never felt like just a placement student – I was made to feel like an integrated part of the team from day one. Everyone is so helpful as well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here for twenty years or two weeks, anyone you ask will be willing to help you with whatever you need.
I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to travel while at Randox. I particularly enjoyed going to Lancaster in Pennsylvania, to see American marketing first-hand at the Eastern Winery Expo. I was involved in all aspects of the event’s management – booking the event, designing the booth, creating the promotional material and shipping it all across to America. It was fantastic to see all my hard work pay off at the event and to be able to chat to our U.S. customers face-to-face.
What is the best thing about Randox?
Definitely my colleagues. Everyone is so friendly and it didn’t take long to settle in at all. I’ve really enjoyed playing Randox football after work on a Monday night in Crumlin too as it gives you the opportunity to get to know people from the other Randox sites while having a friendly kickaround.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your time at Randox?
When I first arrived, I had a general overview of what Randox does and of some of its products, but I didn’t know anything about the company’s patented Biochip Array Technology. I had to quickly get my head around it and learn all about Randox biochips because it’s this innovative technology that Randox Food Diagnostics uses to stay ahead of competitors in the market.
Although initially challenging, I have enjoyed throwing myself in to this learning experience and turning what was once a negative in to a massive positive – I’m now as up-to-date on the newest technology as I possibly could be and that makes for the best marketing campaigns and promotional material. It’s been great for my own personal development to get stuck in to an entirely new area of science and to see my progress from the beginning of the year until now.
I’m a big believer of the importance of always learning and trying something new.
What do you do when not in the office?
I like playing sports, such as football. I’m also a keen cycler. My parents have always been in to cycling so I guess you could say its in the blood. In July I went to Fort William in Scotland for a week of mountain-biking. I love the thrill and the adrenalin rush!
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to secure a marketing role in a globally successful company like Randox, although I wouldn’t say for sure that I’ll always be in marketing as I wouldn’t mind branching out in to forecasting or sales. Fortunately, at Randox you have the flexibility to try a new role if you feel you’d like to expand your skillset. The careers team are really open to people moving about until they find their niche. That’s why the Graduate Programme is so great – you are able to rotate throughout different departments until you find the perfect role for you – one which you are passionate about.
Personally, one of my aims for the future is to travel more. I’d like to venture off the beaten track and see some of the more unexplored areas of the world such as Asia, the Arctic or areas of South America.
But for now, it’s time to get my head back into the books for my final year of studies at university. Wish me luck!
We wish Thomas, like all our placement students, all the best for the future as they head back to university. We look forward to following your budding career in marketing.
For more information on placements at Randox, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
Here at Randox, we’re a diverse bunch. 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.
We also have additional sales and distribution offices spread over 145 different countries, ranging from France to Argentina, Italy to China, and Vietnam to Australia – the focus of this month’s We Are Randox feature.
To learn more about the country famous for Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef, and so many more natural wonders and landmarks, we sat down with Technical Sales Specialist Tanya Galewski at this week’s Annual Randox Sales Conference.
Read on to hear find out what it’s like to live in Australia, her tips for visiting the country, and of course, her top 5 must-see destinations!
Life in Australia is pretty much as you would expect – super relaxed and wonderfully warm.
But in saying that, we’re such outdoorsy people. We’re always out eating and drinking, and there are national parks and beaches everywhere, which means that we end up spending a lot more time outside than inside, which I think makes for a great atmosphere.
We’re just real go-getters!
My top 5 Must-See Destinations in Australia would be:
- Bondi Beach
(I live there so I have to say Bondi Beach!) But it certainly is one of Australia’s most iconic and most beautiful beaches. It really emulates the laid-back atmosphere of Australia, has wonderful cafés along the boardwalk, some beautiful shops, and of course the sand is totally pristine. If you like to surf the waves are incredible and the water itself is stunning.
- McLaren Vale
This is a beautiful wine region in the south of Australia which overlooks the ocean. Again, I may be biased as it is near my home town, but the wine produced there is totally world-class. You can take part in wine tasting events, visit farmers’ markets and enjoy live cookery demonstrations. It’s the perfect foodie destination.
- Noosa National Park
This is a national park in Queensland. It has the most gorgeous coastal walk where you can see dolphins, experience beautiful views of headlands and dunes, and go surfing. If you’re interested in Australian wildlife it’s also home to a range of animals including parrots, koalas, and frogs.
Moving away from the coastland, the next spot on my Must-See list would be Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock). It’s in the centre of Australia and is the absolute epitome of the Australian outback. Not only is it a geologist’s dream, it’s also really spiritual and you can’t help but be in awe when you see this wonder of the world.
There is so much to see and do in the city of Melbourne. You could spend all your time there just eating and drinking and you still wouldn’t be able to visit all the wonderful cafés and restaurants!
The culture in Australia is quite diverse because it’s a multi-cultural country, meaning that our cuisine is also quite diverse. One of the good things about that is because there are so many people who specialise in what they cook, the food is exceptionally good. It’s helped also by the fact that we have such amazing home-grown produce.
Overall I would say that Australia is the perfect place for you if you love getting outdoors in the fresh air, enjoy trying new food, and like having the opportunity to take on new adventures.
With such a wide range of culture, climate and terrain all in the one country, there really is something for everybody.
We’re delighted to have had the chance to chat to Tanya, to learn about life in Australia and find out more about the country which hosts one of our international offices.
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 Randox Australia, visit careers.randox.com
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.
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You may have heard of Companion Diagnostics. This type of diagnostic provides information that is essential for the safe and effective use of a corresponding drug or biological product. It can help to stratify groups of patients which will respond safely to a clinical drug trial, and those who may suffer undesirable side effects.
But why are Companion Diagnostics useful?
Randox Biosciences Pharma Relationship Manager Dr Miguel Quesada-González, PhD has the answer.
“As part of my new role, I’ll be supporting drug development and clinical trials. So as a scientist by background (the nature of the beast) I’ve been reading into and researching this incredibly interesting area of science.
“Since Day 1, Companion Diagnostics (CDx) especially caught my eye.
“When it comes to new drug development, either for Pharma or Biotech, there are many benefits of running a CDx. Based on well-acknowledged scientific papers that I have read, and my own personal perception of the current situation, I’d like to summarise and simplify in just 2 bullet points, what I personally believe to be the most important benefits of running a CDx.
“(a) Delivering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.
“We should never forget that our priority is the health and integrity of patients. It’s been proven that patients who have similar diagnoses very often respond differently to the same treatment. This variability presents a risk in both the efficacy of the treatment and the safety of the patient.
“The development of a drug is already a risky, long and costly process, so wouldn’t you like to avoid the initial high risk by having a good defined target initially?
“(b) Saving time.
“Money is valuable but time even more so. Time is precious and priceless. Once it’s gone, there’s nothing we can do about it!
“The smaller and more targeted the clinical trials are, the less time and resources you’ll be spending. Normally, the CDx is not initiated until a drug has reached the later stages of development, but, actually, if you put the CDx in place at early development stages (preclinical) it presents many advantages because it enables the selected biomarker to be validated and determined before large amounts of resources have been put in place.
“The faster a potential treatment is developed and approved, the more people you can save, cure or simply improve their quality of life.”
For further information on Companion Diagnostics from Randox Biosciences please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org