Jeanie Martin awarded MBE
IBMS member Jeanie Martin is a biomedical scientist in the histocompatibility and immunogenetics (H&I) laboratory at Belfast City Hospital. In December, she was awarded an MBE by Prince William the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace, for the Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours.
Jeanie began work in 1964 as a scientific assistant in veterinary research. She gained a solid knowledge of all biomedical science disciplines before moving to N.I. Blood Transfusion Service to specialise in haematology and blood transfusion. She began working in tissue typing (H&I) in 1976 and is proud to have been involved in lab work providing a 24/7 service from 1977 until 2002.
Most of this time was during the Troubles conflict in Northern Ireland. She recalled,
“I can appreciate that in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s, people were coming to work through roadblocks, and bomb scares were common. These problems lasted for quite a few years, but people carried on and went to work as usual, especially NHS staff. Patients need our help, and that’s what you remember each day.”
Jeanie became a lab manager in 1989. After a brief retirement in 2011 aged 65, she returned to work initially in a temporary capacity but then as interim Clinical Lead of the laboratory, where her expert knowledge of tissue typing has been essential. Within the last 3 months, a new head has been appointed and Jeanie will finally be leaving laboratory work in 2019 - which will be 54 years from her first day.
“Tissue typing is a relatively new science in comparison with other lab disciplines. In Northern Ireland, there are so few people who have experience in it. There’s only one tissue typing lab in Northern Ireland (at Belfast Trust). We have a good team of people here and at the moment I’m leading them from a scientific and clinical point of view.”
On her nomination for an MBE, Jeanie said:
“Five weeks ahead of the official announcement, you get a letter telling you you’ve been nominated. You can’t tell a soul. I was completely surprised and delighted. My immediate thought was of my dad, who had received an MBE in the military division for his work with POWs. I felt a bit sad he couldn’t see me accept mine, but my family were there to support me and it was a pleasure to meet Prince William. I’m very grateful to my colleagues for nominating me for this honour.”
We wish Jeanie our warmest congratulations on her achievement.