The Laboratory Services team is a crew of highly trained analysts; we look after and process samples all the way from them arriving by post into the laboratory, though to testing and generation of results.
The lab is up and running by 8:30am and there’s always a great deal of things to do first thing in the morning to prepare the laboratory and set up the equipment needed to test the samples.
After we receive your serum samples which have been taken from symptomatic allergic animals, we book these into the system and our priority is to start testing. Our in-house developed animal allergy ELISAs (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays) involve a series of chemical reactions all of which must be carried out carefully and precisely to enable us to identify IgE (and IgG for food and secondary infection tests) antibodies present in the serum that can be found against common allergens on our panel. It is especially important that the animal was symptomatic and withdrawn from immune suppressing medications for this to be useful as part of the allergy work-up. Samples are assigned to be tested and we perform all the necessary calculations to carry out the test efficiently and accurately. Testing samples takes several hours, as each step in the process has carefully timed incubation and reaction conditions.
During the testing process, allergen-specific antibodies are tagged with a biochemical marker, this marker allows us to measure the concentration that are bound to the allergen-coated wells of our ELISA plates. The higher the concentration of the tagged antibodies that we measure, the higher the levels of allergen-specific antibodies present in the animal’s serum sample. After testing is complete, we analyse and verify that the results are within our high standards of quality. The results for each sample are assessed by multiple people to ensure the information we provide is correct and well backed-up by sound science.
Throughout the day, aside from testing, there are always a wide range of other tasks to do to keep the lab running to a high standard of quality and efficiency. We use a range of equipment that needs to be cleaned and maintained routinely. Monitoring levels of key reagents is a daily task and when stocks are running low we schedule time to make and assess the quality of new batches of anything that the lab needs. In addition, a very important daily task is to make sure all paperwork, forms and quality documents are filled in, checked, and up to date.
Aside from our analyst roles, each member of the team spends time each week supporting other departments across the company. Between us we get to experience a range of other roles outside of Laboratory Services, be that carrying out experiments alongside our R&D team, writing reports for the Data Science team or helping the Technical Support team manage stocks of submission boxes. This adds variety to our work and really promotes good inter-departmental relations.
Written by Dan York – Laboratory Analyst I
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