Tissue Handling Technician (CRUK Oesophageal Cancer)
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE
Biobanking bridges the gap between the University and the trust. We recruit patients to donate samples, attend theatre and hospital appointments to collect the samples, and distribute them to researchers. In order to maintain our ethical approval, we protect the identity of the patients from researchers and provide complete sample traceability. We also perform other tasks such as processing of samples in the lab, digitising diagnostic histology slides and helping researchers write new project applications.
Prior to this role, I completed a BSc in Anatomical Sciences and an MSc in Forensic Investigations. During my studies I worked in hospital wards looking after patients, and afterwards in hospital labs doing phlebotomy and blood processing.
This role has brought together the knowledge and academic approach I learned at University, with the patient-facing experience and lab skills I gained from working in the NHS. It’s a great mix of my skills and keeps every day interesting.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
Spending so much time speaking to patients humanises the research I’m involved in, it’s a reminder of what we’re all working towards. People’s willingness to help donate samples to research despite their own diagnosis is really motivating.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU’VE DONE, CONTRIBUTED TO THAT YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF?
Since joining NDS, I’ve started a CRUK oesophageal biobanking pathway, following patients from first diagnosis to the end of their treatment. I’ve learned a lot about the clinical treatment of these conditions and have formed relationships with many NHS staff involved including surgeons, pre-op nurses and histology staff. In only three years this pathway has helped numerous projects and will hopefully continue to be a valuable resource for research.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS?
I’ve seen a lot of work in early cancer detection, I would hope to see this continue to give patients the best chance at treatment.