Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences
Tell us a bit about your role
I am the lead technician for the ProMOTE trial: a clinical trial into whether using a certain imaging technique can improve surgical outcomes for patients with prostate cancer. This involves collecting tissue from surgical theatre, sampling it with a pathologist and storing themit long-term in a bio-repository.
I am also the Urology Biobanking lead for the Oxford Radcliffe Biobank (ORB) and a histology technician for Oxford Centre for Histopathology Research (OCHRe).Here I consent patients to donate tissue to the biobank, collect urology tissue samples and process them according to researcher requests.
I started working in the department straight after finishing my A-levels, joining as an Organ Transplant Technician for clinical trials into kidney perfusion. In 2018, I moved to the Quality in Organ Donation group, where I gained more knowledge and relevant skills for biobanking, before taking up my current role in 2019.
ORB and OCHRe have provided tissue samples, histological services and data to hundreds of medical research projects and clinical trials, many of which relate to cancer. As medical science becomes more precise, the demand for high quality biospecimens linked to extensive medical data increases. The biobank is responsible for meeting this demand while complying with all legal and ethical obligations to participants.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
Meeting with potential participants at pre-operative appointments to invite them to donate samples. Many patients are thankful that they can contribute to researchers gaining understanding of diseases in the hopes of one day alleviating them in future patients.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
I was responsible for preparing tissue from ProMOTE patients for DNA sequencing and analysis, which was both a technical and logistical challenge, and should produce interesting data for the trial.
I was also acknowledged for my work as Technician for the COMPARE trial in a paper which was recently published in the Lancet.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
I would like to see robust policies for addressing the replication crisis in the medical sciences: more funding for replication studies, extensive education in statistics for early-career researchers, and requirements for publicly funded research to be open access.