Behind the scenes with our laboratory experts

Salford Royal’s Biomedical Facility research laboratories bring together the science and expertise needed to understand our patients’ health and conditions in detail and to drive forward pioneering treatments and care.

Laboratory based clinical research has been undertaken in the Clinical Sciences Building for several decades  and it has first class purpose built facilities as well as an experienced and knowledgeable team of scientists able to support studies.

The laboratory team’s areas of expertise cover:

  • Processing and storage of clinical samples – the Salford Biorepository Facility supports ethically approved research by tracking, processing, storing and distributing thousands of human samples each year from consenting patients and volunteers. It runs suites of double-alarmed, temperature logging ultra-low temperature freezers and operates to MHRA and HTA regulatory standards.
  • Identification and analysis of biomarkers – our on-site researchers have years of experience in separating, identifying and measuring protein biomarkers in human samples  with techniques such as chromatography and immunoblotting. The labs have extensive experience in the development and standardisation of single or multiplex immunoassays and their routine use for analysis of clinical samples, particularly in the measurement of biomarkers of inflammation and infection.
  • Cell culture models and bioassays – patient cells and tissues are investigated to understand how they function in health and disease. These include leucocytes, endothelial, epithelial and connective tissue cells, and a specialised facility for assessing gut tissue function ex vivo. A number of cell lines are also maintained to determine effects of drugs and experimental materials as well as for bioassay.
  • Histology – the labs have a full range of facilities for preparing and optically analysing fixed and frozen tissue specimens, including image analysis, with particular expertise in the histopathological analysis of brain tissue.
  • Gene expression – we have the equipment and expertise to extract RNA from tissue and whole blood to determine the expression status of genes of interest in different disease states with real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
  • Epigenetics –we can extract genomic DNA from tissues and whole blood and determine the methylation profile of genes of interest.

Laboratory staff support a broad range of research activities directed at investigating the basis of disease and translating experimental laboratory research for patient benefit.

If you have a project idea that may involve a laboratory component, then Research Fellow Dr Kirk Siddals can help with grant writing, methodology advice and costing of the science content. Once a study is given the go-ahead, he can also help teach and supervise laboratory staff or students.

Dr Siddals said: “We’re a collaborative and friendly group of people that are very happy to sit down with prospective researchers to discuss projects. We can help plan experimental outlines for the laboratory- based activity for pilot data for grants and getting projects off the ground.”

The labs team has well-established collaborative links with The University of Manchester and the University of Salford, opening up access to highly specialised equipment for research purposes. One such project saw staff working with The University of Manchester’s Professor Tony Whetton, who runs one of the largest proteomics labs in Europe, on biomarker discovery using a new technique, SWATH mass spectroscopy.

If you want to talk through a possible research idea, please contact Kirk Siddals.