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Outside the Lab Profession, Microbiology and immunology, Laboratory management, Technology and innovation

Lessons Learned, with Jeanie Martin

At a Glance

  • It is vital to minimize the time taken to conduct a kidney transplant once a donor has been found
  • Technological advancements such as virtual crossmatching have moved the goalposts for patients who can receive a transplant
  • Developing a close relationship with transplant clinicians enables laboratorians to develop a personalized approach to patients
  • Laboratories have gone overboard with the amount of documentation required, which can detract from the important work

My career in the lab began in 1964. I worked as a scientific assistant in veterinary research, which exposed me to a broad range of biomedical science disciplines. After eventually deciding to specialize in hematology and blood transfusion, I joined the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service in 1966 where I became an associate of the Institute of Biomedical Science in Hematology and Blood Transfusion. In 1976 – after a short break to have my second son – I began working in Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (H&I), also known as tissue typing. For the next 25 years I participated in the “wet work” aspect of the 24/7 on-call service, while also serving as lab manager from 1989 until my official retirement in 2011. I returned to work part time and, due to the fact that the Belfast Trust H&I lab was without a Head of Department, I took on the role of Interim Clinical Lead from 2015 to 2018.

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About the Author

Jeanie Martin

Jeanie has worked as a biomedical scientist for 54 years and will shortly be retiring from her current role in the histocompatibility and immunogenetics lab at Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, UK.

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