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Dr Gwen Kennedy is the manager of the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory, which is situated within the University of Dundee School of Medicine based at Ninewells Hospital.

Dr Gwen Kennedy (left) and Mrs Lesley MacFarlane (right)

The Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory mainly measures various levels of special molecules called biomarkers in blood, urine or saliva samples. This allows information on whether the biomarker level is normal or abnormal for certain conditions and diseases. We can also use these biomarkers in some cases to monitor how the body is responding to treatment of these diseases or conditions.

As well as ongoing studies and projects using blood etc. to investigate health we have blood samples stored for many years in dedicated ultra-low temperature freezers. These stored blood samples can be used to see if biomarkers can be used to predict or suggest which persons may develop certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia with the aim and hope of treating other people in the future at early stages of the disease or condition.

We have numerous state of the art specialised instruments to measure these biomarkers and are the only laboratory in Scotland to have these particular high-tech pieces of equipment. These advanced technologies allow us to improve the sensitivity of the levels of the biomarkers greatly assisting in early disease diagnosis.

We are always updating our list of assays and biomarkers. We endeavour to have the latest equipment to ensure the School of Medicine and the University of Dundee can embrace all research requirements and trends. We currently have local projects, multi- centre projects, pharmaceutical company projects, European projects, other University and other UK based Heath Board projects. Ranging in sample size of n=30 to 10,000. Last year we measured over 25,000 biomarker samples.

The knowledge and expertise of the staff in the laboratory also encourages academic research and pharmaceutical clinical studies. The senior staff members (Dr Gwen Kennedy & Mrs Lesley McFarlane) each have over 20 years’ experience in the handling, processing and analysing blood samples for biomarker measurements using various immunoassay techniques with over 100 peer published papers between them.

Nurse In a Million Dr Steve McSwiggan

Nurse Manager Steve McSwiggan, one of the TICR nurses who gave up his own time to travel to Africa and work helping Ebola victims in 2014.