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Liverpool scientists receive Chief Scientific Officer award

2 years ago

Liverpool scientists receive Chief Scientific Officer award

Two biomedical scientists from Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) have been recognised in the 2021 Chief Scientific Officer’s Excellence in Healthcare Science Awards.

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievements and contributions in the healthcare science workforce.

Hannah Williams, 45, and Emma Larne, 28, scooped the ‘Healthcare Science Rising Star’ award for their contribution in helping to implement large-scale asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for LUHFT staff and NHS workers across the region.

The duo, who work at the Trust’s Liverpool Clinical Laboratories (LCL), have been pivotal to the success of new technology, the OptiGene RT-LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) test, which rapidly processes saliva samples to detect for COVID-19. The lab is now processing up to 10,000 samples per week, which helps protect patients and NHS staff by rapidly identifying any individuals with asymptomatic COVID-19.

When LCL were selected to validate this new test for the Cheshire and Merseyside region in 2021, Hannah and Emma stepped into leadership roles as COVID-19 LAMP Laboratory Operations Managers to develop and advance this newly established technology into a meaningful service. The lab now processes the highest volume of tests in the country – an impressive 400,000 samples since the project began.

As well as winning a CSO Rising Star award, Emma and Hannah, have now been shortlisted as a finalist in the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) COVID Unsung Heroes Awards.

Emma said:

“Although it is challenging at times, managing the LAMP team has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity and the greatest achievement in my career so far.

“To win a CSO award makes me feel so proud of the service and what we have achieved – but it’s been a real team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the support and hard work of everyone at LCL. Many of our staff were recruited from local universities and one of the most rewarding parts of my role has been helping them to progress within their scientific careers. It’s a great feeling to know that we are part of a service that has had a direct positive impact on helping to keep our fellow NHS colleagues safe at work during a global pandemic.”

Hannah, who is now the manager of LCL’s Bone Marrow Transplant Laboratory, said:

“Emma and I went in this together not quite knowing what to expect, every day was different, and we learnt an awful lot. There have been challenging and rewarding aspects, but I am really proud to have been the first LAMP lab in the country to go live. This was my first experience on a secondment, and I’d recommend it to anyone – just because you’ve not worked in a new discipline before doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Following this opportunity, I was able to apply for my new job as it gave me the confidence and learning to prove I can run a service and step into that leadership role.”

Andrew Bamber, Director of Operations for Liverpool Clinical Laboratories, said:

“Hannah and Emma are a key part of our LAMP success story. Neither scientist had previous managerial experience, nor did they work in molecular diagnostics, virology or microbiology, but both were keen to advance their own skill set and to grow technically. They adapted, innovated and delivered! Hannah and Emma are a credit to the profession and worthy winners of this CSO award.”

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England and the Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics in NHS England, said:

“I’d really like to thank both Emma and Hannah for everything they have done – they are a fantastic example of healthcare scientists in the NHS. The LAMP programme sits with me in the UK Health Security Agency, and it’s really encouraging to see the team in Liverpool have been consistently focused on delivering.

Chief Scientific Officer

Credit: Liverpool Clinical Labs

“They recognise the value this type of testing brings to staff members, and it’s fantastic to hear how Emma and Hannah have responded to all the challenges and helped develop people in new careers. A huge thank you and I expect to see them at future healthcare science events talking about what else they have gone on to do.”

Find out more about Liverpool Clinical Labs here.



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