University Students Reaching Dizzy Heights at Randox

University Students Reaching Dizzy Heights at Randox

Randox recently celebrated the contributions of its placement students at the annual Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards.

At Randox we work closely with a number of universities throughout the UK to support the professional and personal development of students, by providing work placements in our world-leading Engineering, Science and Business departments.

Students, past and present, have come from far and wide to work at Randox – from universities such as Queen’s University, Ulster University, St Andrew’s, Strathclyde, Imperial College London and University of Brighton.

This year, at the 2016 Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards, the top three students within each discipline have been rewarded for their outstanding contributions and this week were presented with certificates of merit and prizes to mark their achievements.

Receiving special recognition for his work was 21 year old Dean McGonagle from Limavady.  The Aerospace Engineering student from Queen’s University, was awarded the Best Overall Placement Student, for his valued contributions to Randox.

Dean redesigned the Biochip storage module on Randox Evolution machines, and the changes he made are now being implemented into production analyser machines across the company.

Receiving his award Dean McGonagle said:

“I have really enjoyed seeing my designs actually being used within the Evolution analysers and how that is having a positive impact on the business. A particular highlight of my placement year was getting to travel to England to observe the shipping crate I had designed for the Evolution undergo environmental and distribution testing. I have really enjoyed my time at Randox, I’ve been involved in many different projects and have received lots of help and guidance from the great engineering team here.”

Congratulating Dean and his fellow placement students, Linda Magee, Head of Human Resources at Randox said:

“At Randox we are great advocates of a placement during a student’s time in education.  In a company such as Randox, with operations on a global scale, the student is provided with some very valuable work experience in their discipline.  It’s not just the student who benefits – we have the pleasure of working with a dynamic generation of students who bring with them extremely fresh and forward-thinking ideas.”

The top students in the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards were:


  • Dean McGonagle, Queen’s University Aerospace Engineering – Mechanical Design Team at Randox
  • Jordan Thomson, Ulster University Computer Science – Software Team at Randox
  • Marc McKee, Queen’s University Mechanical Engineering – Mechanical Design Team at Randox


  • Christopher McNally, Ulster University Biomedical Science – Immunoassay Development Team at Randox
  • William Heasley, Ulster University Biomedical Science – Biochip Customer Unit Team with Philip Holmes
  • Kathryn Watt, St Andrew’s University Medicinal Chemistry – Synthetic Chemistry Team at Randox


  • Meghan Semple, Ulster University Marketing – RX Marketing Team at Randox
  • Fearghal Savage, Ulster University Information Technologies – IT Enterprise Support Team
  • Michael Boyle, Ulster University Interactive Multimedia Design – Graphic Design Team at Randox


The incoming 2016-17 academic year marks the highest intake of placement students for Randox, with over 70 students starting in the company over the next few months. Anyone interested in applying for the 2017-18 scheme should email

Laboratory Accreditation sees rise in the use of Third Party Quality Controls

A recent report published by Markets and Markets called “In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) Quality Controls Market” has highlighted the significant growth within the Quality Control market, with further growth expected within the next 4 years, estimating that the IVD QC market will be worth $979 million. The report is crediting this growth to “the increasing number of accredited clinical laboratories and growing adoption of third-party quality controls”. It also indicates an anticipated growth of 4.7% CAGR between 2015 -2020 for third party quality controls. The adoption of third party controls is particularly interesting, as a survey conducted by Randox in 2015 found that only 35% of respondents felt that the most important feature when selecting quality controls for the laboratory was that they were third party, with stability being the top choice. This highlights the influence accreditation is having within the IVD market.

Why have these been influential?

Accreditation to ISO 15189:2012, and other similar standards, is becoming mandatory in many countries. Laboratories are becoming accredited to highlight the accuracy and reliability of the patient results they are releasing. Furthermore such accreditation standards and the industry regulatory bodies, like CAP, CLSI and so on, are recommending the use of third party controls. This is supported by ISO 15189:2012 which states, “the use of third party control materials should be considered, either instead of, or in addition to, any control materials supplied by the reagent or instrument manufacturer”. The report states that third party controls “offer various advantages over other types” of quality controls, this includes a longer shelf life and long term quality monitoring.

What can Randox Quality Control Offer?

The Acusera range of quality controls can be described as true third party or independent controls. Unlike first party controls or semi dependent controls they are manufactured independently of any instrument or reagent and thus are designed to deliver an unbiased assessment of analytical performance across all platforms while also meeting ISO 15189:2012 recommendations.  To assist with the other requirements of ISO 15189:2012 each control is 100% commutable, ensuring a matrix that will react to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample.  It should also be noted that the entire Acusera quality control range has been manufactured in line with clinically relevant decision levels. Employing controls that cover the entire clinical range will eliminate the need for separate low/high controls ultimately reducing costs while also ensuring accurate instrument performance. By employing any one of our Acusera Controls in your laboratory you could minimise costs & limit the time spent reassigning values after each lot change, highlighting just some of the additional benefits of employing a third party control.

To request a visit from a QC consultant contact us via

Camerata, Harmony North and Codetta prove a terrific trio at US performance

Randox accompanied a group of musicians from across Northern Ireland and Ireland to Washington DC this weekend, for a world-class musical performance.

World-renowned chamber orchestra Camerata Ireland, the Harmony North choir, a cross-community choir made up of 9 post-primary school choirs from across North Belfast and the Codetta choir from Derry / Londonderry travelled to the US to perform on Saturday 21 May. The event took place in the Eisenhower Theater in America’s National Cultural Centre, The John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington DC.

The Codetta and Harmony North Choirs, and the Camerata Ireland orchestra, supported by global sponsor Randox, included in their performance a specially commissioned piece of music called ‘Dusty Bluebells’ – written by the poet Michael Longley, and Camerata founder and director Barry Douglas – on Saturday evening as part of the Centre’s International Festival, focusing on Irish arts and culture.  The event also marked the world premiere of Olagon, a piece of music written by Belfast composter Neil Martin, and played by Dublin piper Mark Redmond, on the uilleann pipes.

Speaking ahead of the event, Barry Douglas, Founder and Artistic Director of Camerata Ireland, whose joint patrons are Her Majesty The Queen and the President of Ireland, said

“It is a real honour for Camerata Ireland to be asked to take part in this Festival with musical talent from both North and South. And I am doubly thrilled that we were able to accommodate my suggestion of being joined by the young people of the Harmony North choir.

Performances like this are only possible with the generous support of private sponsors, particularly our global sponsor Randox, and we are delighted to continue our partnership with them. I also have to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Bureau and Tourism Ireland for their generous financial assistance and help enabling us to attend this event.”

Barry and Eimear McGeown, a flautist from Craigavon, also performed at events in the Boston Public Library and the American Irish Historical Society in New York, attended by Randox guests on this recent trip to the US.

Randox Managing Director Dr. Peter FitzGerald, commented:

“We are very pleased to have been able to accompany Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland at events in Washington, New York and Boston this week. To see our young musicians, including the young members of the exceptionally gifted Harmony North choir, showcase our musical heritage and talent to American audiences, makes us extremely proud.  Our partnership with Camerata allows Randox the opportunity to promote client relationships and exports to the USA whilst simultaneously supporting the very best of our young musicians in their careers.”

Harmony North has been supported in their first year by the Integrated Education fund, Mr Tony Carson, the Belfast Trust for Integrated Education and the support of the schools, staff and parents of all the participating schools.

Mark Redmond, Barry Douglas, Eimear McGeown & Neil Martin
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Piper Mark Redmond and flautist Eimear McGeown enjoying a toast at the Kennedy Centre (Washington DC)
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Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Anne Anderson, Randox MD Dr. Peter FitzGerald & Dr. Deborah Brosnan (back) Dr. Rita Colwell & Dr. Jack Colwell, Uni of Maryland (front)

Is your Aspirin treatment effectively preventing thrombotic stroke?

The Stroke Association works to improve stroke prevention, treatment and care with a vision for a world where there are fewer strokes. They host Stroke Awareness Month every year and “Make May Purple” to raise awareness of the ways to lower the risks of taking a stroke and to help those affected by it.

What is a stroke?

For the brain to function properly, it needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by the blood. Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or, more commonly, when a blockage develops which leaves the supply of the blood to the brain limited or completely obstructed and without treatment; cells in the brain quickly begin to die.

If an individual is at risk or has suffered from a stroke before, medication is often recommended by doctors to lower the risk. Anti-platelet drugs, including Aspirin, keep platelets in the blood from sticking together and forming clots possibly preventing another stroke.

However, there are risks to taking Aspirin every day…

There can be risks of taking Aspirin and some experts do not recommend it if the individual hasn’t already had a stroke. The benefits of taking daily Aspirin therapy don’t outweigh the risk of bleeding in people with a low risk of strokes; although the higher the risk of stroke, the more likely it is that the benefits of daily Aspirin outweigh the risk of bleeding.

Taking daily Aspirin may help to reduce clot-related stroke but it also may increase the risk of a bleeding stroke known as haemorrhagic stroke. Daily Aspirin may also increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, if an individual has a bleeding ulcer or if they are bleeding anywhere else in the gastrointestinal tract, taking Aspirin will cause it to bleed more. Also some individuals can be allergic to Aspirin and if they take any it can trigger a serious allergic reaction.

Not everyone responds in the same way to Aspirin!

For a number of reasons including genetic factors; other medications; dosage problems; diabetes; and elevated cholesterol, not all patients respond in the same way to Aspirin therapy. Aspirin resistance is a serious clinical problem and is estimated to affect up to 30% of patients on a low dosage. It is vital that Aspirin resistance is recognised as these patients may need their treatment altered to prevent dangerous clotting.

The TxBCardio™ test helps to identify patients who have a sub-optimum response to their Aspirin therapy. Patients who have a sub-optimum response to their Aspirin therapy are three times more likely to die from a stroke than those who respond positively to such therapy.

This Stroke Awareness Month, we are encouraging the testing of at-risk individuals to ensure that they are responding in the correct way to Aspirin therapy, by taking the TxBCardio™ test!  This will not only help the tailoring of treatment to reduce the risk of stroke, but it will also ensure that patients are not exposed to any unnecessary risk of side-effects associated with  daily Aspirin consumption.

For health professionals

The primary action of Aspirin is to inhibit the production of thromboxane in the blood, a chemical which helps to cause blood clotting. However, methods of directly measuring the level of thromboxane in blood are unreliable, and so not widely used. Randox TxBCardio™ measures a direct urinary metabolite of thromboxane, 11dhTxB, therefore providing a reliable and stable measure of a patient’s response to their daily Aspirin therapy.  This test is available on most automated biochemistry analysers. 

Contact us now to request a brochure or kit insert.

TAS & NEFA: Benefits for dairy cattle during the transition period

The transition period between late pregnancy and the onset of lactation requires quick metabolic adaption by dairy cattle as foetal growth, calving and the onset of lactation causes increased energy demands on the body. To support the increase in energy requirements, increased nutrients are required; however, limitations to dietary intake can occur as a result of reduced appetite caused by the growing foetus restricting the size of the rumen. In addition, during this period almost all glucose intake is utilised for lactose synthesis. As a result, during the transition period dairy cattle can be prone to negative energy balance.

Negative energy balance occurs when energy demands exceed dietary intake, and in cases where energy requirements are not met by diet, dairy cattle will utilise their own fat reserves as an energy source; this being non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), a major component of triglycerides (fats) in the body. Excessive metabolism of NEFA, however, can result in accumulation of fat which can result in fatty liver disease (resulting in decreased liver function), and ketosis which can be toxic and damaging to the liver and kidneys (it has been associated with pregnancy complications, decreased milk production and hypoglycaemia).

Additionally, during the transition period, as a result of the increase in metabolic processes, dairy cattle are more susceptible to metabolic stress. This is due to the increase in Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

ROS are free radical by-products of normal metabolic processes which can be harmful and destructive to the cells in the body. To defend against them the body utilises antioxidants to inhibit the formation of free radicals, destroy free radicals or repair the damage caused by free radicals; however if there is an imbalance of antioxidants to ROS then the body’s natural defence system is decreased. This can result in free radical damage to surrounding cells, tissue and DNA.

Free radicals have been implicated in many disease states in addition to suppression of the immune response system. As a result, in the first 10 days after calving dairy cows are at maximum risk of infectious and metabolic disorders; in fact, approximately 75% of disease occurs in herds within the first month of lactation (Abuelo et al. 2014). Complications for dairy cattle suffering metabolic stress include not only fatty liver disease and ketosis, but also mastitis, retained foetal membranes, reduced milk production and increased risk of cancer, CVD, lung, liver and renal disease, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, infectious conditions, and, neurological disorders.

How can the health and well-being of dairy cattle be protected during the transition period?

To ensure animal well-being, and indeed reduce economic impact for dairy farmers, dairy cattle should be monitored for their antioxidant capacity, particularly during pregnancy.  As the antioxidant defence system includes many components, the Total Antioxidant Status (TAS) test is used to assess overall antioxidant capacity. This test is beneficial in gaining an overall view of the body’s ability to defend against free radical attack; it can therefore help to determine if nutritional supplements are required to ensure good body condition during the transition period. Further antioxidant testing may be required to ensure nutritional requirements are fully understood before antioxidant supplementation begins.

In addition, the NEFA test indicates negative energy balance, and can therefore be used to monitor whether their nutrient intake is adequate for the high energy demands experienced during the transition period. Additionally, research (Li, H.Q et al. 2016) has found that supplementing dairy cattle with rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) may benefit negative energy balance by decreasing plasma concentrations of NEFA and increasing glucose plasma. Results show increased milk protein levels and improved nutrient ingestion, milk production and reproductive performance.

Randox provides TAS and NEFA for a wide range of biochemistry analysers. For more information please contact


Abuelo A., Hernandez J. and Beneditor J.L (2014) The importance of oxidative status of dairy carrel in the periparturient period: revisiting antioxidant supplementation. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 99(6):1003-1016

Li, H. Q., et al. (2016) Effects of dietary supplements of rumen-protected folic acid on lactation performance, energy balance, blood parameters and reproductive performance in dairy cows. Animal Feed Science and Technology

Quietly complaining about your current QC?

With more than 30 years’ experience developing pioneering high quality, cost effective Quality Control solutions for the IVD market Randox has designed their Acusera range of third party controls to simplify QC practice for labs of all sizes. The following outlines frequent complaints that arise in the lab & solutions we can offer to ensure you no longer quietly complain about your QC.

High volumes of controls needed to assess your test menu?

Acusera controls can contain a unique combination of up to 100 analytes in a single vial. This consolidation will permit you to reduce costs by removing the need to purchase extra controls to cover your complete test menu. As fewer controls are required the amount of time spent preparing controls is reduced, freeing staff to complete other tasks.

QC does not contain clinically relevant levels?

The analytes present in our Acusera controls have been included at clinical decision levels. The importance of employing controls that cover clinically relevant concentrations is highlighted by ISO 15189 & its significance is demonstrated in the following example. When measuring Troponin T the cut off value is 14 ng/l. Patients who present to the hospital with a concentration higher than 14 ng/l in their blood are said to have had a cardiac event. Test results lower than 14 ng/l would indicate that the patient is healthy or it is too early to tell if a cardiac event has occurred. As such it is imperative that analysers can accurately measure to this level and that performance at this level is assessed. QC material with similar cut off levels should therefore be used. Acusera meets these requirements, reducing the number of controls you need to cover both your complete test menu & the necessary clinical decision range for specific tests.

Frequent expensive lot changes?

With a shelf life of up to 2 years for liquid & 4 years for lyophilised controls, Acusera can help minimise costly lot changes. Furthermore each control has their own target values & extended open vial stability claims, which do not differ from lot to lot due to our unrivalled consistency. Both features will ultimately help reduce waste, minimise costs & limit the time spent reassigning values after each lot change.

Inconvenient shifts?

When using controls with non-human components you are likely to experience shifts in QC values when changing reagent batch. Our controls are 100% commutable, reacting to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample, helping you to not only meet ISO requirements but reduce costly QC shifts.

Need to improve confidence in QC results?

Acusera 24.7 is an interlaboratory data management designed for use with Randox true third party controls. The software has been created to help monitor and interpret QC data, providing access to; QC multi-rules, interactive charts, real-time peer group data and our unique dashboard interface for at-a-glance performance assessment.

With Acusera you will no longer quietly complain about your QC!

With features such as our test menu consolidation, clinically relevant levels, commutability & unrivalled stability, partnered with Acusera 24.7 can help you reduce waste and costs while improving performance in your lab. Simply contact us today for more information or request a consultation from one of our QC consultants via

Medical Technology: Expanding Powers and Possibilities

What does the future of Medical Technology and Healthcare look like? How big of an impact does technology have on health? 

Let’s start with a few fun facts: more people on this planet own a smart phone than a toothbrush, Google handles an estimated 1 billion search queries every day, every minute 20.8 million+ WhatsApp messages are sent, and you can probably check if all of those facts are correct in about 0.70 seconds.

If one thing is clear, it’s this: technology has made the world a different place. We live in a digital world where we rely on technology to make friends, to keep friends, to track progress, to prompt us, to wake us up, to motivate us and, most importantly, to keep us healthy.

When considering the future of technology, we may picture crisp-white rooms, voice-activated coffee machines and holograms… at one time it was a common idea that the future would hold flying cars! There is, however, one thing we can all agree on. In the “future”, however advanced technology may be and however far we may have come: whatever technology is created will be created to aid human life, as tech-innovation has always been. Inventors have striven to simplify and solve life’s little problems for centuries. Holistically speaking, most products and services with vigorous research and development programs are devoted to searching for new ways to fulfill human lives. We, at the RX series team, are based within a marriage of sectors that are more human-focused and yet forward facing in terms of development of new and exciting ideas than any others; health, medicine and technology.

“We take our commitment to research and development very seriously” comments Peter FitzGerald, founder of Randox and the RX series on the company’s R&D department, “Randox is at the forefront of life-changing research and development in the diagnostics industry.” Jason Silva, an American public speaker pondered, “In symbiosis with our technology, our powers are expanding exponentially and so, too, our possibilities” and just as Silva stated, advanced technology can greaten human abilities and opportunities vastly when dedication to healthcare is combined with advanced knowledge in technology and innovation. Diagnostics and medical technology are at the forefront of life changing innovation. RX series scientist, David Brown, pondered advances in Medical Technology, “There is constant progress being made in the range of diagnostic tests across every aspect of healthcare. Medical technology needs to meet the demand of these tests along with the expectation of patients for fast results. “

Today, only the smartest minds are dedicated to tackling the many issues within the industry. Many sectors play a part in innovation in healthcare; reagents production broadening test menus and researching new assays for a wide variety of human conditions, quality control bringing confidence in laboratory results for organisations and patients, health services giving complete diagnostic reports for preventative health, medical devices pushing the boundaries for automation, software design, reliability and precision, bio-sciences, toxicology, food testing, and so forth. Randox have played a large role in innovating all of these sectors. We do this, because we are confident that complete consolidation is the future of healthcare. The RX series team run on the belief that our machines function as the high-tech heartbeat of the laboratory and and our quality control and reagents function as the lifeblood, working in harmony to deliver effective results, and advancing in synch with each other.

When the RX series sees the future, we see test menus expanded to cover all ranges of analytes for earlier diagnosis, we see high class automation and longer walkaway times to make laboratories more efficient in time and money, and finally, we see those who rely on our medical technology for accurate results living happy, healthy lives, having trust in doctors and medical professionals worldwide.

Earlier this week, we heard from our followers and friends from around the world, who let us know what they think the future of Medical Technology holds… What do you see when you imagine the future?  

Medical Technology Diagnostics RX series Randox Laboratories Clinical Chemistry

How important is Homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?

It is widely recognised that high homocysteine levels in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia) can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which in turn may lead to atherogenesis and ischemic injury.  High homocysteine levels are therefore a possible risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), or heart disease.

However a new study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis in April 2016 (conducted by Young Cheul Chung and colleagues, from Rockefeller University in New York City) has looked into the growing evidence to suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia is also correlated with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  This study was undertaken to clarify the specific role of elevated homocysteine levels in Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology.

The study was carried out on mice, and showed a promising link between high levels of homocysteine and Alzheimer’s disease.  It showed that diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model leads to severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy and parenchymal amyloid-β deposition, as well as significant impairments in learning and memory, suggesting that elevated levels of plasma homocysteine and its metabolite, homocysteine thiolactone, contribute to Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Commenting on an earlier study, Dr Susanne Sorensen, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society UK said that the molecule [homocysteine] is carried by everyone, but those who go on to develop some dementias appear to have higher levels of the compound.  She also stressed that research is needed to establish just what role if any homocysteine plays in the development of dementia and how best to keep levels of the molecule low.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental decline that can occur in middle to old age, due to a degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility, and is also the most common form of dementia, affecting 62% of those diagnosed.  Vascular dementia is another form, affecting 17% of those diagnosed.

Paul McGivern, Clinical Chemistry R&D Manager at global healthcare company Randox Laboratories, has commented

Dementia is a terminal condition and with 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, there is an urgent need for further research into the link between Alzheimer’s disease and homocysteine levels.  If we can better establish this link, it may give future researchers the tools necessary to find a prevention, or even a cure to this condition.

With the number of dementia sufferers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025, soaring to 2 million by 2051, the need for further research into the link between homocysteine levels and Alzheimer’s disease has never been more pressing.

For health professionals

Randox Laboratories offer an automated test for the biochemistry measurement of homocysteine.  This is available for use on a wide range of manufacturer’s analysers.  Please contact for further information, or to request a kit insert or application.

Clinical Laboratory Survey