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ARC East Midlands PhD trainee success in GOSH placement

A PhD trainee, funded by Department of Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Medicine (University Hospitals of Leicester) and ARC East Midlands, has won a grant to develop an innovative COVID-19 immune response technique as part of a career progression initiative.

Dan Lane has been successful in the NIHR Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) scheme to create a novel mass spectrometry (MS) assay for that explores immune response to COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV), in collaboration with NIHR and commercial partners.

He will be based at the Translational Mass Spectrometry Research Group (TMSRG) at the University College of London, under the tutelage of Professor Kevin Mills and Dr Wendy Heywood, as part of the Novel Therapies theme of the Biomedical Research Centre unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The TMSRG is also a recipient of a NIHR research centre grant. The project will build upon framework created as part of the Department of Health and Social Care initiative called Operation Moonshot that developed diagnostics for coronavirus as part of a national MS collaboration with clinical, academic, and industrial partners.

The main output will provide data for both a publishable manuscript, and a prototype translational test that can be used in any large NHS chemical pathology department and pilot data for a future fellowship for translational MS in infectious diseases.

The TMSRG is one of the most sophisticated MS centres in the UK, and it specialises in areas of translational MS proteomics and metabolomics that will provide invaluable experience for Dan’s own training needs.  

For this project, Dan will learn the theory and practical skillset regarding biochemistry in immunology and the kinetics of infection. He said: “The SPARC scheme is a great opportunity to absorb new techniques and build lasting collaborations with other NIHR institutes. I will be working through a novel research project, learning aspects of my field that are not available at my institute. I am hoping to develop a novel skillset that I can relay within my own lab. This project may even provide pilot data for my early career research grants and manuscripts.”

The NIHR SPARC scheme allows trainees supported by NIHR Infrastructure to spend time in other parts of the NIHR to network, train in a specific technique or collaborate with other researchers and specialists. The scheme is designed to optimise and enhance the trainees’ experience as well as their CVs. Expected outcomes include collaborations, publications, presentations, posters, as well as the development of new skills.

Published on: 16 May 2022