IBMSpod Episode 13 - Comedy, Haematology and Andrology with Dave Spikey and Sheryl Homa

In Episode 13, we heard the fascinating career story of Biomedical Scientist in Haematology turned famous comic and actor Dave Spikey.

Dave is best known for his stand-up comedy tours, starring in sitcom Phoenix Nights alongside Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness, presenting Bullseye, Chain Letters and being a team captain on 8 out of 10 Cats.

Before he moved over to comedy, Dave led a successful 30-year career in Biomedical Science – rising the ranks to become Chief Biomedical Scientist in Haematology at The Royal Bolton Hospital.

Dave recollects his journey into Biomedical Science from school pupil to trainee medical laboratory technician to senior biomedical scientist. He discussed the various roles he held and the innovations in the field he brought about.

We then challenged Dave, who is a former Mastermind champion to our very own Haematology quiz. He then took us through his move from Biomedical Science into comedy, writing, film production and television - from a local hospital pantomime performance to a national stand-up tour, starring in iconic sitcoms and hosting television game shows.

In the Quick-Fire round, Dave shared his most funny memory from his days back in the lab!

Then in LabLife, Dr Martin Khechara is joined by Andrologist Sheryl Homa, who discussed the importance of this marginalised, but vital specialism. She also tells us about her recent appearance on a BBC documentary with comedian Rhod Gilbert.

IBMSPOD · Episode 13 - Comedy, haematology and andrology


IBMSpod Episode 12 - Genomic Medicine & Public Engagement with Deborah Lakeland and Charlotte Felton

Episode 12 marks one year of the IBMS Pod. We were joined by expert in genomics medicine Deborah Lakeland. In LabLife, our guest was trainee in critical care science Charlotte Felton. 

As we enter a new era of personalised medicine, how can biomedical scientists integrate the necessary genomic tests into their services?

Genomic medicine uses information about a patient’s genetic makeup to improve their care and overall clinical outcome across a range of diseases. As the NHS implements genomics into the NHS, we’ll enter a new paradigm of cutting-edge diagnostics which will see new personalised treatments tailored to the individual patient routinely available.

Deborah Lakeland is a cancer genomics project manager at Lancashire & South Cumbria teaching. Hospitals. Deborah has over 30 years of experience as a biomedical scientist across several specialities including Immunology, Haematology and Molecular Pathology. She moved over to genomics to assist the 100,000 genome project. 

Deborah takes us through what progress has been made so far in the field of genomics medicine, including the government’s 100,000 genome project and her role within it. She then discusses how genomic medicine has transformed therapeutics for cancer patients before outlining the major challenges biomedical scientists face in order to fully integrate genomic medicine into their practice. Later, Deborah is asked to outline how large scale testing of coronavirus patient genomes helped us to identify variant strains of SARS-CoV2 and ultimately helped us bring the pandemic under control. 

We also discussed Deborah’s outreach and media work including being recognised as a Chief Scientific Officer Women in Science and Engineering Fellow for 2019/2020.

In the Quick-Fire round, Rob is curious if Deborah prefers tea over coffee, casual wear over smart wear and ab-sailing over bungee jumping!

IBMS Licentiate Charlotte Felton is a trainee clinical scientist in critical care science. Charlotte Felton explained why she felt it was so important to participate in the public engagement of biomedical science, and the initiatives she’s set-up to promote the profession and teach younger generations about careers in Biomedical science including the popular ‘inspire BMS’ Twitter account.

She also tells us about why she is transitioning from a band 5 role in haematology to a new role in critical care science and what the role encompasses. 

IBMSPOD · Episode 12 - Genomics Medicine & Public Engagement with Deborah Lakeland and Charlotte Felton




IBMSpod Episode 11 – Mental health and education with Azuma Kalu, Martin Khechara and Steven Schnabel 

As Covid restrictions are lifted and services return to normal, we're revisiting the issue of workplace pressure, mental health and wellbeing across healthcare laboratories.

In September's episode, IBMS fellow and Specialist Scientific Lead in clinical chemistry Azuma Kalu joined us. The pandemic has increased the burden on pathology services to the detriment of some of our member's mental health and wellbeing, inspiring Azuma to take the lead in highlighting the topic across the profession.

Azuma discussed how the pandemic has changed the nature of the workplace and reminds us of the issues biomedical scientists, healthcare and support staff have faced during the pandemic. He then talked us through the progress we've made in recent months to improve our members' mental health and overall quality of working lives. In doing so, he emphasised the benefits senior staff will reap when returning to the workplace for both them and more junior team members.

Azuma also talks to us about how his PhD in cancer genomics could lead to a test for the recurrence of prostate cancer for those in remission.

This month's LabLife explores the issues Biomedical Science students have faced throughout the pandemic. Special guest host Martin Khechara interviews IBMS eStudent Steven Schnabel. He's been on placement in an NHS laboratory throughout the pandemic while also conducting public engagement on behalf of the profession. He takes us through his personal experience and the challenges students have faced and provides some tips to students returning to campus and face-to-face learning in the new academic year.

Martin Khechara is an IBMS fellow and senior lecturer in Microbiology at Wolverhampton University and associate professor for public engagement. He recently completed the British Media Associations's media placement with the Naked Scientists podcast.

IBMSPOD · Episode 11 - Mental health and education with Azuma Kalu, Martin Khechara and Steven Schnabel



IBMSpod Episode 10 – Special on Sustainability in the lab with Martin Farley and Sheri Scott

With COP26 only a few months away, it’s increasingly important to address the sustainability and environmental impacts of our laboratories.

In August’s episode Sustainability Labs Advisor for UCL and King’s, Martin Farley talks to us about sustainability in the lab and the work he has done setting up LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) to help prioritise environmentally conscious laboratory procedures. Martin was the UK's (and Europe’s) first full-time sustainable laboratory specialist and was awarded the Green Gown in 2015 from the Sustainability Exchange.

Martin discusses how sustainable lab practices are good for both science and cost-saving and shares some top tips for making the lab more eco-friendly.

In August’s LabLife, we caught up with IBMS Fellow Sheri Scott, a biochemist & senior lecturer in biomedical science at Nottingham Trent University. Sheri talked through the sustainability issues biomedical scientists are facing and what actions they can take to reduce their impact on the climate and environment. Sheri also talks about the benefits of becoming a verifier and assessor for IBMS qualifications.

IBMSPOD · Episode 10 - Special on Sustainability in the lab with Martin Farley & Sheri Scott

IBMSpod Episode 9 – Cardiology and making music with Dr Rameen Shakur and Francis Yongblah

July’s IBMS Pod features expert in cardiovascular disease at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Dr Rameen Shakur.

Following the release of a breakthrough paper paving the way for personalised treatments and precision in cardiovascular medicine, we are joined by its lead author, Dr Rameen Shakur, a clinical scientist in cardiology and IBMS Fellow.

Rameen spoke to us about the recent sudden cardiac arrest of footballer Christian Erikson and its underlying cause – a set of conditions known as genetic cardiomyopathies and how to manage risk. We also talked about his new paper - a global collaboration between Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge, MIT and Lund University, which analyses the underlying causes of hereditary heart disorders and creates a new computer tool to allow clinicians help predict cardiac conditions and tailor treatment for the patient. 

July’s LabLife features senior Biomedical Scientist at Great Ormond Street Hospital Francis Yongblah. He talks about his projects outside the lab; including making music with the London Gay Symphony Orchestra, fighting for LGBT representation and equality in the laboratory and a brand-new antimicrobial resistance festival.

IBMSPOD · Episode 9 - Cardiology and making music with Dr Rameen Shakur and Francis Yongblah


IBMSpod Episode 8 - Microbiology & overseas aid with Zonya Jeffrey and Akinola and Olubukola Adewunmi

As the profession gets ready to celebrate Biomedical Science Day, June's episode showcases the excellent achievements and inspiring work of three outstanding Biomedical Scientists.

Manchester-based Zonya Jeffrey is a senior Biomedical Scientist in Microbiology and a national member of IBMS council. She co-founded the children's charity 'Child Aid Tanzania' to support mothers and babies in communities affected by Malaria and HIV. In a wide-ranging interview, Zonya tells us all about the project in Tanzania and how she set up the charity. We also talk about her work fighting Cholera in Sierra Leone, her objectives on IBMS council, her work with the BBC and more!

Meanwhile, award-winning Husband and Wife Biomedical Scientist duo Akinola and Olubukola Adewunmi join Ella on LabLife. They discuss their projects outside of the lab educating the public about Sickle Cell Disease and encouraging blood donations from BAME communities - for which they won a National BAME Health & Care Award.

IBMSPOD · Episode 8 - Microbiology & overseas aid with Zonya Jeffrey and Akinola and Olubukola Adewunmi


IBMSpod Episode 7 - with Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen & Zoe Andrews

In May's IBMSpod, public health and infectious disease expert at Oxford University Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen joins us from a quarantine hotel to discuss the use of facemasks as lockdown lifts. 

The episode examines how facemasks and other infection control measures have taken off across the world and consider how their usage will continue as the UK exits lockdown. In LabLife, we hear from Guernsey-based Healthcare Assistant Zoe Andrews to find out how people have adjusted since restrictions were removed in March. She also explains the challenges of setting up Guernsey's only Covid-testing lab and establishing Harvey's Gang on the island.

IBMSPOD · Episode 7 - Facemasks & lockdown lifting with Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen & Zoe Andrews


IBMSpod Episode 6 - with Ian Davies & Salford Students 

In April's edition of IBMSpod, we catch up with senior lecturer at Staffordshire University Ian Davies to ask how the pandemic has affected the next generation of Biomedical Scientists.

As the pandemic took hold last spring, Ian and his team faced the challenges of supporting 70 apprentice students in clinical placements and assisting with the diagnostic response. In the midst of this, Ian also fully adapted the Biomedical Science course to ensure learning and practical classes could still take place - adopting a 'blended learning' style that combines both remote learning with essential face-to-face laboratory classes. 

IBMS eStudents Caitlin Owen and Nadia Patel are the co-editors of a new Biomedicine magazine created by students at the University of Salford during the lockdown in November. 

IBMSPOD · Episode 6 - Education in the Pandemic with Ian Davies & Salford Students


IBMSpod Episode 5 - with Dr Joanne Horne and Cherie Beckett 

In March's edition of IBMS POD, we ask how can biomedical scientists manage worry, anxiety and stress and boost mental wellbeing in the midst of the pandemic?

Dr Jo Horne is a consultant Biomedical Scientist in Gastrointestinal & Hepatobiliary Histopathology at University Hospital Southampton Trust. She has been helping colleagues cope with the pressures that the pandemic has put on their mental health. Jo discusses the issues biomedical scientists have faced during COVID-19, her role alongside her main work as a ‘safe space practitioner' delivering psychological first aid and if the increased emphasis on supporting mental wellbeing during Covid-19 will lead to permanent change post-pandemic? Jo also chats about her scientific work, talking us through the dissection and reporting process in Histopathology and answers a question about encouraging women into STEM in light of International Women’s Day on the 8th March and faces our quick-fire round.

In LabLife, we catch up with Cherie Beckett, Biomedical Scientist in Microbiology. She chats to us about her work outside the lab hosting the IBMS Twitter chat and volunteering to show a child suffering from leukaemia around her laboratory for the charity Harvey’s Gang.

IBMSPOD · Episode 5 - Wellbeing, histopathology and microbiology with Dr Jo Horne & Cherie Beckett


IBMSpod Episode 4 - with Nigel Brown & Jayanta Brahma

In February’s edition of IBMS POD, we delve into the fascinating specialism of Toxicology.

Nigel Brown is a consultant clinical toxicologist whose career spans four decades. He gives us an insight into his role, which has a broad remit - including undertaking routine drug screening to confirm a doctors’ hypothesis about what a patient might have ingested; monitoring alcohol poisoning, where urgent action is required to prevent death from anti-freeze consumption and assisting coroners with post-mortems. He also works closely with the police and social services in cases where people are arrested or tragically, where children need to be taken into care.

In this month’s LabLife, Plymouth-based Biomedical Scientist and Triathlete Jayanta Brahma opens-up about how the tragic loss of his best friend motivated him to undertake record-breaking health & fitness challenges - raising hundreds for the Brain Tumour Charity, MIND & Sarcoma UK in the process. He’s rock-climbed the height of Olympus Mons on Mars - the solar’s systems tallest mountain and completed the Iron Man Triathlon – a mammoth 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.22-mile run.

Also features IBMS News- a round-up of all the latest headlines from the IBMS.

IBMSPOD · Episode 4 - Toxicology and mental health with Nigel Brown & Jayanta Brahma


IBMSpod Episode 3 - with Debra Padgett and Kip Heath

In the next outing of IBMS POD, we caught up with Debra Padgett – the IBMS’s new president-elect and infection sciences operational manager in North Cumbria. In the midst of a winter lockdown where a new, highly transmissible COVID-19 variant is challenging Biomedical Scientists more than ever, Debra sets out her aims and priorities for the year ahead as well how her team have adapted to maintain diagnostic services for patients. She also tells us all about her career journey to date and how she progressed to a senior level in the profession.

In LabLife, Great Ormond Street Biomedical Scientist and Science comedian Kip Heath chats to Jordan about her stand-up shows, as well her experience volunteering in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic. She also explains how her upcoming PhD project will help to fight Sepsis and combat AMR. 

IBMSPOD · IBMSPOD Episode 3 - with President-elect Debra Padgett & Kip Heath


IBMSpod Episode 2 - with Dr Sarah Pitt and Umar Siddiqui

In the second instalment of IBMSpod, leading virologist and fellow Dr Sarah Pitt talk to Rob & Jordan about her experience appearing in the media spotlight throughout the pandemic. Later, she discusses the innovative science behind the new COVID-19 vaccines.

In Lablife, Helen is joined by Gogglebox TV Star and Senior Biomedical Scientist Umar Siddiqui.

IBMSpod · IBMSpod Episode 2 - with Dr Sarah Pitt & Umar Siddiqui


IBMSpod Episode 1  - with Dr Guy Orchard and Emma Victory

In Episode 1 of the all-new IBMSpod Rob and Jordan chat to AH Biomedical Scientist of the Year Dr Guy Orchard. In a wide-ranging conversation, Guy discussed how a trip to the local delicatessen inspired him to develop two new pathology products patented for clinical use. 

IBMScience · IBMSPOD Episode 1  - with Dr Guy Orchard and Emma Victory