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Meet the technician: Dr Chloe Ormonde

Dr Chloe Ormonde is a lab technician at the BRAIN Unit. In this piece, Chloe shares her career journey so far and why she enjoys working in the laboratory.

About me

I’m Chloe, and I’ve worked for the university for over 16 years. I studied at Cardiff University myself, completing a BSc degree in Pharmacology and a PhD in cardiovascular sciences. I joined the laboratory group of Professor William Gray and the BRAIN Unit at the end of 2016. When I’m not in the lab, I’m a busy mum to two children, a son who is five and a daughter who has just turned 16 months. My time outside of work is normally spent exploring the various playgrounds around Cardiff, building LEGO and practicing ‘first words’ with my daughter. I’m a keen cook, and I enjoy experimenting and trying out new recipes with my family.

My role at the BRAIN Unit

A laboratory technician has the responsibility of overseeing all activities that take place within the research team. On a typical day, we assist in preparing for collection, and the processing of primary human tissue, which is obtained from consented patients undergoing elective neurosurgery at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), Cardiff. Under the Human Tissue Act, we are responsible for keeping track of all human tissue activities taking place within our research team, and keeping inventories regularly updated.

We also provide technical support for our research group and are responsible for tasks such as ordering and stock checking, protocol generation, formulation of risk assessments and standard operating procedures, as well as providing laboratory support by training new members of staff and students to work safely within the lab and ensuring the correct usage of laboratory equipment.

Why are lab technicians so important?

The technician role is integral to the research team. It is important because we carry out practical and technical support to all staff and students working within the laboratory. We deliver an array of essential, routine laboratory techniques to support any ongoing scientific research projects and are involved in receiving, labelling, and analysing samples. We are responsible for making sure the laboratory remains a user-friendly space, by keeping the lab benches clean and clutter free, disposing of rubbish and keeping track of laboratory consumables such as reagents and plasticware.

What I love about being a lab technician

I’ve always enjoyed tissue culture studies and the fact the BRAIN Unit works directly with human tissue collected straight from surgery really piqued my interest in this role. I was intrigued to see how a 3D representation of normal and diseased brain tissue could be generated in the laboratory. I was also interested in the exciting prospect of using this tissue not only to closer investigate the complex processes that underpin neurological disease, but also as a model to predict the clinical efficacy of drug treatments. These processes help us to identify resistance, toxicity, and aid therapeutic strategies.

With thanks to Chloe for her contributions.