Randox announced as Antrim Show’s first title sponsor
Antrim Agricultural Society and Randox Laboratories have announced they’ve agreed a three-year deal whereby Randox will be the new title sponsor of the annual Antrim Show.
The Randox Antrim Show will take place this year on Saturday 22nd July at Shanes Castle, Antrim.
With 111 years of events under its belt, Antrim Show is one of the longest running and most highly regarded of Northern Ireland’s regional agricultural shows. It is a showcase of country life with an eclectic mix that includes the best of the best livestock competitions, equine events, local food and rural crafts, set amongst stalls, marquees and family entertainment.
Randox is one of the most important businesses in Northern Ireland. For over 35 years, it has been committed to transforming global healthcare. A world-leading medical diagnostics manufacturer, its products and services are used in hospitals, universities and laboratories in 145 countries. Spearheading the drive towards preventive healthcare, it opened Randox Health clinics across the UK to offer its diagnostic expertise directly to the public. Headquartered in Crumlin, Randox recently invested over £161m on Randox Science Park, redeveloping the former Masserene Barracks in Antrim into a state-of-the-art R&D, engineering and manufacturing hub.
Welcoming this show of support from Randox, a neighbouring company of the Show, Fred Duncan, Chairman of Antrim Agricultural Society, said:
“This partnership with Randox offers us a fantastic and refreshing opportunity to enhance our marketing plans as well as add to the Show’s offering of activities. We welcome the return of regular visitors and newcomers to enjoy our fun packed day in the country that we offer within the beautiful setting of the Shanes Castle Estate.
“Antrim Agricultural Society is a not for profit organisation. It’s thanks only to the support of sponsors and the hard work and dedication of a team of volunteers that the Show can continue to go from strength to strength.”
Randox is also well-known for its veterinary division and in line with its new commitment to equine events, through its sponsorship of the Randox Health Grand National, is developing a leading equine health programme. Show-goers are guaranteed an eye-opening experience when they visit the interactive stands at the Randox Health marquee at Shanes Castle on the 22nd July.
Randox’s Founder and Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, said:
“This partnership means a great deal to Randox and we’re delighted to work with the very committed team behind this event. Our success is in no small way down to the support we’ve received from the local community and the people who work with us, and we believe that it’s vital to give back wherever possible. This is one way of the ways we are doing that and we’re all looking forward to the very first Randox Antrim Show.”
Coinciding with the news of this valuable support from Randox, the Show has unveiled a new logo as part of a rebrand that will also include an update of the website in time for the opening of competition entries in the early half of June. To stay up to date with Randox Antrim Show’s news, visit www.facebook.com/AntrimShow.
For more information about the Randox Antrim Show please contact Randox PR on 028 9445 1016 or email RandoxPR@randox.com
It was Friday Fun Day (or should we say Bun Day?) for everyone at Randox headquarters today!
In aid of the Stroke Association NI, talented bakers from across the company brought in their cakes, biscuits, buns and sweet treats to enter in to the Great Randox Bake Off 2017.
With an impressive line-up of chocolate brownies, Victoria sponges, rainbow cakes and more, the competition was fierce for the fifteen Randox bakers who offered up their home-baked goods to the strict judging panel.
Randox Health Director, Nuailin FitzGerald; Nuailin’s daughter Angharad; Randox Receptionist and Administrator Teresa McCloskey, and Stroke Association representative Paul Montgomery, made up the team of judges who rated each bake out of 10 for both appearance and taste (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, right?)
While the judges made their notes, a large group of Randox employees waited eagerly to hear who would be crowned Randox Star Baker.
Would it be Rachel Walls’ Biochip Cake?
Michael Mulligan’s Swampy Magenta Banoffee Pie?
Or would Grace Catney win with her We Are Randox cupcakes?
The judges then took themselves off to the private judging room where they deliberated on who would receive the coveted prize, while everyone else was able to finally taste all the wonderful treats on display!
To sample the goodies everyone gave generously to the Stroke Association donation bucket and while doing so made their own predictions as to who would win.
But only the judges had the deciding vote…
In third place, was Rachel Withers’ Make May Purple themed meringue cake.
In joint second place – Nicola McHugh’s Rainbow Cake and Clare McKibben’s beautifully iced Randox cake!
The winner of the Great Randox Bake Off 2017 was…Michelle Bradley!
Michelle’s perfectly smooth icing and ornate flower decorations really wowed the judges, and they were equally impressed when they tasted the light and delicious sponge inside.
A big thank you to everyone who donated today at our Great Randox Bake Off, and for taking the time to sample the entrants’ baked goods. Weren’t they tasty?
Of course a huge thank you also goes to the judges of our Great Randox Bake Off, and in particular to Paul Montgomery for taking the time to visit Randox and speak to our team about the importance of stroke awareness.
We all learnt a lot and had fun while doing so!
For more information on the Great Randox Bake Off email the Randox PR team: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9442 2413
A female scientist who has been working on the development of a test that diagnoses sepsis is one of the award-winning students in this year’s university placement scheme with Randox Laboratories.
The breakthrough sepsis test is being created by the Randox Molecular Diagnostics team, which Sarah-Louise Morrow from Belfast joined in September. Her innovative work saw her win third place in the Science category at the company’s annual Pinnacle Placement Awards.
Sarah-Louise, a Biochemistry student from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said:
“Sepsis is known as the ‘silent killer’, and the faster you can diagnose it the better for the patient. It was so inspiring working with a team here at Randox who are making such valuable contributions to global health and I couldn’t be happier that something I’ve worked on could save lives in the future.”
Now in its 26th year, the Randox placement programme is recognised internationally for providing world-class opportunities for students and graduates – one of the core reasons that the global diagnostics company was established in 1982. Thirty years on, its founder Dr Peter FitzGerald remains as committed as ever to championing new talent and driving innovation.
Between them, this year’s Randox placement students have spearheaded a number of new designs and projects which are being implemented across the company.
Catherine McCooke, a QUB Electrical and Electronic Engineering student designed a new UV radiation exposure detection mechanism; Shannon McKee, a Business Studies student at Ulster University, conducted highly advantageous market research into emerging markets such as Jamaica and Puerto Rico; and Katie Lawther, a QUB Microbiology student introduced a new cellular tissue storage and tracking system.
The title of Randox Placement Student of the Year 2017 went to Robin Walsh, a QUB student from Lisburn who developed a new chemiluminescence signal reagent which is currently being validated and will be shortly released for production.
The 22 year old’s new product delivers significantly positive effects on the chemistry testing carried out by the Randox New Technology team. It increases test output by a factor of three, saving costs and time which ultimately enables the faster delivery of results for patients.
On receiving his award Robin, who studies Chemical Engineering, said;
“The Randox Placement Programme has far exceeded my expectations. My manager and everyone else in my team have been so supportive and encouraging. I worked on high-level projects I wouldn’t have dreamed possible for a placement student to be involved with. I have gained so much experience during my time as I have been able to translate what I’ve learnt in university into a true working environment. I’ve no doubt this experience will set me apart from the competition in the future.”
Congratulating Robin and his fellow placement students, Jolene Jamison, Randox Placement Co-Ordinator said;
“Taking part in a meaningful placement scheme is one of the most important things a student can do. The young people who are selected to join our programme are given the opportunity to carry out ground-breaking research and development, often working with pioneering technologies that are exported globally.
“The scheme is highly valued by the company so it’s important to take time at its end to celebrate our students. We’re very proud of them all – their contributions are going to make a real difference to global health.”
For the first time two of the Randox Placement award winners were selected from the APEX scheme that Randox runs with UU and QUB. This innovative scheme, which enables applicants to submit “video CVS” on social media to showcase their own personalities, includes paid, full-time summer work experience after a student’s first year of studies, a year-long placement, and a full-time job offer upon graduating, should they obtain a 2:1 or above.
Catherine McCooke who won the overall prize in Engineering said:
“After winning a place through the APEX scheme, being awarded the top prize in Engineering at Randox is unbelievable. It’s particularly important to me because I feel very passionately that women should see that there are no barriers to succeeding as an engineer. I’ve worked incredibly hard with some inspiring people, and have felt respected and valued every step of the way.”
The incoming 2017 summer work experience marks the highest intake of APEX students in Randox so far. Anyone interested in applying for the 2018-19 scheme should email email@example.com.
The top students in the Randox Pinnacle Placement Awards 2017 were:
Robin Walsh, Queen’s University Chemical Engineering – New Technology Evaluation Chemistry Team at Randox
Katie Lawther, Queen’s University Microbiology – Monoclonal Development Team at Randox
Sarah-Louise Morrow, Queen’s University Biochemistry – Molecular Diagnostics Team at Randox
Catherine McCooke, Queen’s University Electrical and Electronic Engineering – R&D Engineering Team at Randox
Ruairi Laverty, Queen’s University Mechanical Engineering – R&D Engineering Team at Randox
Adam Fawcett, The Ulster University Electronic Engineering – Engineering Team at Randox
Shannon McKee, The Ulster University Business – Regional Sales Team at Randox
Martin Conway, The Ulster University Marketing – Marketing Team at Randox
Alastair McIlveen, Queen’s University Computer Science – IT Team at Randox
Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox for more Randox staff stories.
For more information about the #WeAreRandox initiative please contact Randox PR by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 028 9442 2413
Creativity can take many forms. And there’s nobody who seems to embody this saying better than our Global Marketing Manager, Eamon Lenehan.
By day he’s a Marketing Guru coming up with creative and innovative campaigns for Randox products. But by night he’s a rockstar in a Northern Irish Indie Band – playing drums and writing new songs!
As we continue our #WeAreRandox series of staff stories, we’re delighted to have found out about Eamon’s musical alter-ego.
We love getting to know the hobbies and interests that make our colleagues who they are and hope that Eamon’s story encourages other musical members of our team to meet up, chat about their shared interests and find out just a little bit more about each other.
Here’s Eamon’s story.
My background in music is something I’m very proud of but just never get the chance to talk about at work because I’m always so busy! At Randox I head up the Marketing for the clinical side of our business – our RX Series clinical chemistry analysers, Randox Quality Control, and our Randox Reagents. I’m also heavily involved in the Marketing for the Randox Health Grand National so I’m never short of work to do!
Basically I’ve always been musical. I grew up in a musical household and learnt to play the piano from a very young age. As my interest in music grew I then took up the drums too. I still practice regularly and I’m often asked to play in bands or orchestras at musical performances by local production companies.
In my teens I was lucky that a good number of my friends were musical too and so quite early on we became involved in the Belfast music scene. I got to know the sound team at the Empire Music Hall and also Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol who is very supportive of up and coming musicians. In 1996 I was lucky enough to be part of a band who supported Snow Patrol. That was long before they became so well-known, back when they were just part of the university scene in Belfast. I learnt so much from them.
As time went on I had the opportunity to become involved in an increasing number of musical projects to build up my experience. For example, I was involved in a project that Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols was producing, which was amazing, especially for a fellow drummer.
I guess my friends and I became inspired by all the musical talent that we had grown up around and had been lucky enough to work with. We took inspiration from bands we had been in previously – I myself had been in a band called The Scenes – and then in 2010 we pulled together and started up our own band in a studio in Northern Ireland called Mogul Studios.
The band was called Levity Breaks – made up of myself on drums, singer and bassist Marty McLaughlin, keyboardist Jonny McGuiness and guitarist Richie Lappin. You can do a quick google search and find some of our songs very easily.
I’m most proud of a song we wrote called ‘The Floor’, the video of which was produced for us by Maverick Renegade Productions. It was our début single and it did really well because it’s a big, anthem-style tune which evokes a lot of emotion. We got to perform in gigs across Belfast including The Limelight.
Once again we were lucky to receive support from Gary Lightbody’s artist development company, Third Bar. We were selected by the company to receive the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund in 2014, which meant we received some funding and also performed alongside headliners The 1975 and Tired Pony during Bushmills Live in the summer of that year.
It was such a fantastic time in my life and I’m proud to have been part of something so huge. I am now doing some session work for a band called The Irontown Diehards and am excited to bring my experiences and ideas to their new album.
I have two passions in life; marketing and music, and I’m hoping that my talents in the former will help promote my involvement in the latter. It all boils down to creativity and that’s what I love about both of my interests. Of course knowing Gary Lightbody doesn’t hurt either…
Randox wouldn’t be the innovative and forward-thinking healthcare company it is today without the creativity and hard work of people like Eamon. We’re delighted he’s part of our team and that he brings his enthusiasm, commitment and talent with him every day to Randox.
If you want to hear some of Eamon’s music you can check him out in action on the drums here:
We can’t stop listening!
Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox for more Randox staff stories.
For more information about the #WeAreRandox initiative please contact Randox PR by email: email@example.com or phone 028 9442 2413
The cream of students employers were last night celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office, to pay recognition to the companies across Northern Ireland that go above and beyond to provide high calibre placement and job opportunities for University students.
With over 155 companies nominated, including PWC and BBC, the competition for the top Placement Employer in Northern Ireland was fierce. We are extremely pleased to announce that Randox came in as one of the top 3 finalists for Ulster University’s Top Placement Employer of the Year, in the ‘nominated by an Ulster University Student’ category.
We caught up with Human Resources Officer, Jolene Jamison, who manages the Placement and Graduate Programme, about what it is that makes the placement experience at Randox so unique.
The Randox Placement Programme, by Human Resources Officer, Jolene Jamison
An in-depth induction
For students the Randox placement journey, from beginning to end, is the perfect transition from university life to the workplace.
When they arrive, the induction process is an important first step in easing students into what is for many, their first professional job. It gives students an overview of the company, the company’s products and services, the ethos of the organisation, the responsibilities of their job role, the placement support on offer and the processes in place for feedback and evaluation. The induction process also gives students an insight into the valuable contribution they can make to Randox and subsequently global health, by showcasing examples of previous placement students’ work.
Students also have the opportunity to meet with other employees and students across the company to develop an understanding of the wider Randox organisation. Each induction is tailored dependent on the role to be fulfilled, in order to help the student to gain an understanding of where they personally fit within the organisation, and so they experience a mix of presentations, seminars, interactive sessions and shadowing a supervisor, to gain insight into the responsibilities of their department.
We also make a preliminary assessment of each student’s capabilities in order to identify training and development needs throughout the duration of their placement.
A Supportive Environment
During placements with us our students are each supported by a dedicated placement co-ordinator and mentor, and meet with them every 3 months for review.
At an initial review students outline the skills gained from their degree, identify their career goals, and agree a plan of action with their mentor. This ensures their skills are utilised during their placement, provides focus and direction and helps them on their chosen career path.
For each upcoming review period, each student’s strengths and any challenges they have encountered are identified, with new objectives set as part of an on-going review. This helps highlight any training and development needs, enabling the placement co-ordinator to implement a training plan.
The placement co-ordinator at Randox is responsible for the pastoral support of each student, and additionally, students are often paired off with a colleague in their department who helps with day-to-day support.
All Randox student placements are financially supported; they receive an employment package similar to full-time employees including paid holidays and flexible working hours.
Helping students discover their goals and objectives
At Randox we are aware of the important contribution we can make in shaping a student’s professional career, which is why placement opportunities are offered to even those in their first year of university studies, through the Randox APEX Programme.
Students are encouraged to discuss their long term career goals with their placement mentor and manager, and are encouraged to pursue their own areas of interest.
Students are often involved in novel research projects, encouraging individual thinking, ideas generation and strong confidence in their ability. These novel research projects encourage placement students to get involved in the core company projects and voice their thoughts and ideas. Working in such an environment can give placement students the opportunity to develop professional expertise in specialist areas.
The opportunity to make a real contribution
This year we were awarded with our Placement Employer Award specifically for the placement we provided for Business Student Meghan Sample.
Meghan made real contributions to Randox during her time here, and was involved in presenting a digital content marketing strategy to Marketing Management. This included strict guidelines to ensure consistency through all graphics, language used and tone of voice. She then implemented this content marketing strategy via mail-campaigns, social platforms, web pages, insightful clinical market articles and whitepapers.
The results of Meghan’s digital content marketing strategy helped her and her team understand her value and the value of her work to the organisation. Online engagement increased by a staggering 1,200%, web traffic by 256.91% and by quarter 3 of 2016, 100% of Randox RX Series sales to distributors and end-users originated from Meghan’s digital marketing campaign.
This not only gave Meghan a focus for her studies upon her return to university but a real understanding of how academic learning is put in to practice in the working world. This project enabled her to find her passion and decide what area of work she wanted to pursue.
Letting students know that they’re doing well
We really value that students require support and encouragement and therefore we celebrate their achievements at a Student Placement Awards Ceremony, in which exceptional students who have worked hard, made outstanding contributions to the company, and excelled in general during their placement year are formally recognised. This furthermore instils pride and self-esteem in the students that will encourage the continuation of their hard work and determination.
Meghan Semple joined Team Randox in September 2015 as a Marketing Placement student from Ulster University Business School, and left Randox as our Business Placement Student of the Year 2015-2016, an accolade that recognised her achievements and contributions to the company.
An exceptional experience
The placement student experience is second to none. During their Randox placement, students are given the opportunity to be involved in ground breaking research and development, often working with pioneering technologies that are exported globally.
Being entrusted to work individually on personal projects of such high calibre means that students can set and achieve impressive goals, instilling a strong sense of professional pride early in each student’s career.
Being given their own tasks and responsibilities integrates students into the Randox workforce, performing duties of equal importance to graduate, part-time, full-time, new, and long-serving members of staff alike.
For the duration of their placements, placement students are as involved in the running of Randox as any other member of staff and their contributions make a real difference.
Students are offered exposure to staff at varying levels and are involved in presentations to Management. They are offered the same opportunities as any other member of their team, as the fresh ideas and perspectives of Ulster University students are hugely beneficial and valued by Randox. Many Randox students are offered full-time jobs upon completion of their degree, which shows the importance of Randox placements as a springboard into exciting and enjoyable careers.”
For more information about the Impact Excellence Awards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nerdy scientist by day but all singing all dancing performer by night – is there anything that Tanya McKinty can’t do?
Tanya works in the new state-of-the-art Randox Science Park as an R&D scientist but is also busy preparing for her roles as Lambeth landlady Mrs. Brown and Pearly Queen in the musical comedy ‘Me and My Girl.’
Tanya is performing this evening and the rest of the week (9th – 13th May) in the Grand Opera House and so we wanted to celebrate her talents and hard work with a feature piece on her personal musical story.
Good luck tonight Tanya!
Read on to find out how Tanya balances her scientific career and her passion for performing arts.
Hi Tanya, can you tell us a little bit about how you got started here in Randox?
I joined the company in 1993 after completing my PhD in Physical Chemistry and was involved in the early development work on the Randox biochips. But I have always loved studying so I did a Maths degree part time with the Open University and correspondence courses in spreadsheets, databases and VB programming. Now my official title is Data Analyst and I spend most of my time analysing data and devising problem-solving workbooks and macros for many departments throughout the company.
So how did you get into musical theatre given your strong background in Science and Maths?
I have been performing on stage since I was seven years old. My family was involved in ‘Those Who Care’ (TWC) which was a company set up by Tom McMurtry to provide entertainment to the staff and patients in Muckamore Abbey Hospital. They put on spring revue shows and Christmas pantomimes. I started as a dancer and then as I grew older I gradually began getting more acting roles. My first big acting role was when I was sixteen were I played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. After that I got involved with some of the amateur companies in Belfast that staged musicals.
I always had a great interest in dance and attended ballet and tap until I was 18. I took jazz, hip hop contemporary and musical theatre dance lessons as well. In 2013 I received my Diploma in Musical Theatre from the London College of Music. Since then I have taken part in a range of different acting workshops and play the piano occasionally. I was always more interested in music theory rather than music practice because I was quite mathematical. I reached grade five in theory and grade four in practice.
What do you do now in terms of acting?
Right now I am preparing to play the roles of Lambeth landlady Mrs. Brown and Pearly Queen in the musical comedy ‘Me and My Girl’. This is with St Agnes’ Choral Society and will take place in the Grand Opera House from the 9th-13th May. We have been rehearsing for past four months for it so I’m really looking forward to showcasing it to a public audience.
Can you tell us a bit about the preparation that has gone into ‘Me and My Girl’?
The early rehearsals involved learning all the music with our musical director. Most of the choral numbers are (at least) four part harmony and it’s important to get that drilled first so that when you start adding movement the harmonies are second nature and you only have to focus on what your feet are doing.
We then started learning the choreographed routines. There are some fast-paced numbers in this show so you really have to build up stamina to sing and dance at the same time. After that we start putting it all together with the dialogue scenes to learn where everything fits into place and when to make entrances and exits.
The week before the show is the most exciting but also the most exhausting. Stage manager, props team, sound and lighting all come along to rehearsals and we have the costume call where we get to see what the costumiers have sent over for us to wear. Then it’s into the Opera House for band call (singing with the full orchestra), tech rehearsal to mark scene changes and identify any technical issues and then dress rehearsal.
How did you get started with St Agnes’ Choral Society?
My friend was choreographing ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ for the company and they were short on dancers so she asked me to come in for the show. Everyone in the company was so friendly and welcoming and there was just a great family feel to it. So I auditioned to officially join the company and I haven’t looked back.
Can you tell us the names of any plays that you have starred in?
To date my two biggest roles have probably been Mrs Meers in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ and Lorraine in ‘Boogie Nights’ which was a 70s musical. I’ve also had roles in ‘42nd Street’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Hairspray’ and ‘9 to 5’ as well as others. My favourite character to play would be the villain or to have a good comedy role. I think Mrs Meers has been one of my favourite characters to play as she is a bit of both.
What has been the highlight of your time in St Agnes’ Choral Society to date?
By far the best highlight for me was being nominated as ‘Best Comedienne’ at the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS). The AIMS has an adjudication scheme which considers all the musicals staged by amateur companies throughout Ireland. In June they have an awards weekend with a ceremony on the Saturday night very much in the style of the Oscars which is very glamorous. In 2011 I got nominated for my role as Mrs Meers. Although I didn’t win I still got an award for the mantelpiece, plus I didn’t have to make any acceptance speech which was a bonus I quite enjoyed.
Are there any upcoming plays happening after ‘Me and My Girl’?
Yes, we put on a show every year so the next one will be next year at some point. We haven’t announced which show yet but when it’s announced I’ll make sure to let you know. We perform an annual show in the Grand Opera House and then have a concert program for the rest of the year.
What do you enjoy most about acting in all of these plays?
I love reading and analysing a script to get an insight into a character. I also love telling a story no matter how complicated it is and experimenting with different ways to bring that character to life. I have worn an enormous fat suit and danced on a table, chased people around the stage with a (fake) shotgun and been the office drunk. But my favourite thing is working together with a team of people to give an audience an experience.
How did you get involved in choreographing shows throughout NI?
I started choreographing for the TWC because I had the most dance experience. I then joined Ulster Operatic and became dance captain (probably because I was the bossiest dancer!) and then started choreographing for them. After that I got approached by different companies to work with them.
What shows have you choreographed?
Lots! My favourites have been 42nd Street, High School Musical (I and II), Little Shop of Horrors, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sister Act and Sunset Boulevard.
Do you have any other interests/hobbies outside of work?
I love to read if I can find time. My favourite genre would be historical novels.
What led you to pursue a career in science over acting?
I have always been a science geek! I got my first chemistry set when I was 11 and loved puzzles and problem-solving so I was always destined to be a scientist.
How do you manage your time between Randox and rehearsals?
Usually rehearsals are only once or twice a week so it’s not too bad. When we are rehearsing for a show our big rehearsals tend to be at the weekend. It can be exhausting but you get such a buzz from it that it’s worth it.
We’re so proud of Tanya and her commitment and dedication to her musical passion. We know she will do so well in the Grand Opera House this evening and can’t wait to hear how it goes!
Break a leg!
If you are interested in joining our global team make sure that you check out the Randox careers website to see what new opportunities we have for you.
The Lipoprotein(a) Foundation have commended health and fitness expert Bob Harper for speaking out after recently suffering a heart attack. The celebrity personal trainer and host of the US television series ‘The Biggest Loser’, has revealed that high levels of Lp(a) were responsible for the heart attack he suffered at the age of 51 at the beginning of this year.1
Harper had been completing a normal workout at his gym when he suffered full cardiac arrest. Luckily, two doctors were in the vicinity who saved his life by performing CPR and using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). In an interview following his heart attack, Harper has said,
“I’ve learned a lot about the fact genetics does play a part in this, it is so important to know your health… I’m a guy that lives a very healthy lifestyle, very regimented, I work out all the time, but there were things going on inside of my body that I needed to be more aware of and I strongly encourage anyone that’s listening right now to go to their doctor, get their cholesterol checked, see what’s going on on the inside”.
Scroll down to watch the interview in full.
What is Lp(a)?
Lp(a) is a particle which is produced in the liver and found in the blood which carries cholesterol, fats and proteins. Levels of Lp(a) in individuals are genetically determined, and are not affected by diet, exercise or lifestyle changes.2
So how does a seemingly fit and healthy person have a heart attack at the age of 51?
Lp(a) is currently the strongest inherited risk factor for heart attack and stroke, with one in five people globally inheriting high Lp(a).1 Levels of Lp(a) are not routinely tested in standard cardiovascular assessments, and despite the particle itself being an altered form of LDL cholesterol, standard cholesterol tests do not reveal inherited Lp(a) levels as it is independent from total cholesterol and LDL levels.3
High Lp(a) can also be unrelated to other common risks factors of cardiovascular diseases for example, smoking, diet, diabetes, high blood pressure and lack of exercise. This is why seemingly healthy individuals can have high Lp(a) in their genes and still be at high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Why is Lp(a) not routinely measured if high levels pose such a risk?
The widespread use of Lp(a) as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease risk has, until recently, been hindered by the lack of internationally accepted standardisation and the fact that many commercial Lp(a) methods suffer from apo(a) size related bias, potentially leading to patient misclassification.
The size of the apo(a) protein is genetically determined and varies widely hence, levels of Lp(a) can vary up to 1000-fold between individuals.4 To find out more about the clinical significance of Lp(a), please refer to the section below entitled ‘For Health Professionals’.
What can you do if you have high Lp(a)?
Research has shown that lowering Lp(a) could significantly reduce the impact of cardiovascular diseases. A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, found that reducing high Lp(a) could potentially prevent up to 1 in 14 cases of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and 1 in 7 cases of aortic valve stenosis.5 Of those studied, nearly one third of heart attacks and half of all cases of aortic stenosis were attributed to high Lp(a).6 This study demonstrates the clinical significance of measuring Lp(a), making it a major independent genetic risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Why test Lp(a)?
Lp(a) will be tested as part of a lipid profile if: there is a strong family history of CVD, a patient has existing heart or vascular diseases, a patient has an inherited predisposition for high cholesterol or if a person has had a stroke or heart attack but has normal lipid levels.7
Dr Christie Ballantyne, Chief of Cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine, has said “the most important part of knowing your Lp(a) level is understanding your overall risk and finding the right lifestyle modifications or medications to target all the other traditional risk factors. Those risk factors become even more important to monitor when your Lp(a) levels are high”.8
If you are concerned that you may be at risk of having elevated levels of Lp(a) due to your family history, ask your doctor or medical provider to test lipoprotein (a), along with other lipid tests, to clinically evaluate your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
For health professionals
Click below for information regarding the challenges associated with the measurement of Lp(a) and the clinical significance it holds.
The widespread use of Lp(a) as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease risk has, until recently, been impeded by the lack of internationally accepted standardisation and the fact that many commercial Lp(a) methods suffer from apo(a) size related bias, potentially leading to patient misclassification. The size of the apo(a) protein is genetically determined and varies widely hence, levels of Lp(a) can vary up to 1000-fold between individuals.4
As a result, international criteria has been set to overcome these challenges. The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC) Working Group on Lp(a) recommends that laboratories use assays which do not suffer from apo(a) size-related bias, in order to minimise the potential risk of misclassification of patients for coronary heart disease. The Lipoprotein(a) Foundation has referenced Marcovina and Albers (2016) as their recommendation for the best Lp(a) test.9 This recommendation is a result of the following conclusions:
- Robust assays based on the Denka method are available, which are reported in nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) and are traceable to WHO/IFCC reference material
- Five point calibrators with accuracy assigned target values will minimise the sensitivity to apo(a) size
A number of guidelines are in place for the testing of Lp(a) in patients.
-The European Guidelines for Management of Dyslipidaemia state that Lp(a) should be measured in individuals considered at high risk of CVD or with a strong family history of premature CVD.
-The European Atherosclerotic Society suggest that Lp(a) should be measured once in all subjects at intermediate or high risk of CVD/CHD who present with10 :
1. Premature CVD
2. Family hypercholesterolaemia
3. A family history of premature CVD and/or elevated Lp(a)
4. Recurrent CVD despite statin treatment
5. ≥3% 10-year risk of fatal CVD according to the European guidelines
6. ≥10% 10-year risk of fatal and/or non-fatal CHD according to the US guidelines
-EAS Consensus Panel states the evidence clearly supports Lp(a) as a priority for reducing cardiovascular risk, beyond that associated with LDL cholesterol. Clinicians should consider screening statin-treated patients with recurrent heart disease, in addition to those considered at moderate to high risk of heart disease.
- The Randox Lp(a) assay is one of the only methodologies on the market that detects the non-variable part of the Lp(a) molecule and therefore suffers minimal size related bias – providing more accurate and consistent results. The Randox Lp(a) kit is standardised to the WHO/ IFCC reference material SRM 2B and is closest in terms of agreement to the ELISA reference method.
- Five calibrators with accuracy-based assigned target values are provided – which accurately reflect the heterogeneity of isoforms present in the general population
- Measuring units available in nmol/L upon request
- Highly sensitive and specific – method for Lp(a) detection in serum and plasma
- Applications are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers – which detail instrument-specific settings for the convenient use of Randox Lp(a) on a variety of systems
- Liquid ready-to-use reagents – for convenience and ease-of-use
Watch the interview with Bob Harper here:
1. Lipoprotein(a) Foundation, Lipoprotein(a) Foundation Thanks Bob Harper for Revealing High Lp(a) Levels Led to His Recent Heart Attack on The Dr Oz Show, 2017 Available from: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170425006724/en/ [Accessed: 16 March 2017]
2. Lipoprotein Foundation, Understand Inherited Lipoprotein (a), Available from: https://goo.gl/bH5A8R [Accessed: 16 March 2017]
3. Kumar, V., Abbas, A. K. and Aster, J. C., Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basic of Disease, (Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2015), p. 494 in Google books, https://goo.gl/VEnVX9 [Accessed 27th April 2017]
4. Kamstrup P.R., Tybjaerg-Hansen A., Steffensen R., Nordestgaard B.G. Genetically elevated lipoprotein (a) and increased risk of myocardial infarction. JAMA. Vol. 301, p. 2331-2339 (2009).
5. Afshar, M. Kamstrup, P.R., Williams, K., Snidermann, A. D., Nordestgaard, B.G., Thanassoulis, G., Estimating the Population Impact of Lp(a) Lowering on the Incidence of Myocardial Infarction and Aortic Stenosis – Brief Report., Ateriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2016;36:2421-2423, Available from: http://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.116.308271
6. The Lipoprotein(a) Foundation, Lipoprotein(a) Foundation Supports National Heart Valve Disease Month, Highlights Genetic Link between Lp(a) and Aortic Valve Disease, Business Wire. (2017), Available from: https://goo.gl/LhQFGj [Accessed: 16 March 2017]
7. Lab Tests Online, Lp(a), 2014, Available from: https://goo.gl/W2PWSN [Accessed: 16 March 2017]
8.Gutierrez, G., The heart attack risk factor you haven’t heard of, Baylor College of Medicine, 2017, Available from: https://goo.gl/9X4Xko [Accessed: 16 March 2017]
9. Marcovina, S.M. and Albers, J.J. Lipoprotein (a) measurements for clinical application. Lipid Res. Vol. 57, p. 526-37 (2016).
10. Nordestgaard, B. G., Chapman, M. J., Ray, K., Bore´n, J., Andreotti, F., Watts, G. F., Ginsberg, H., Amarenco, P., Catapano, A., Descamps, O. S., Fisher, E., Kovanen, P. T., Kuivenhoven, J. A., Lesnik, P., Masana, L., Reiner, Z., Taskinen, M. R., Tokgozoglu, L., and Tybjærg-Hansen, A., for the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel. Lipoprotein(a) as a cardiovascular risk factor: current status. European Heart Journal. Vol. 23, p. 2844-2853 (2010).
Introducing Amy Fekkes, graphic designer of the new RX series logo.
The RX series have just launched their brand new logo! We did a quick Q&A session with the creator of the new logo, graphic designer Amy Fekkes, who works in the RX series marketing team. We asked Amy a few questions about the history of the RX brand and the process she went through to create a selection of preferred designs, through to senior management approving their favourite logo for the company to implement across the board.
How old is the RX series brand?
15 years old, the first analyser having been released in 2002. We now have 5 analysers in our range.
How many versions of the RX series logo have been created?
This is the third version.
What is the meaning behind each of the individual names of the analysers? (RX misano, RX monaco, RX daytona+, RX imola, RX modena)
Each of the analysers are named after famous racetracks around the world. This helps reinforce the idea of workflow and speedy turnaround of results.
What inspired this current brand re-fresh?
I felt passionate about the RX series and felt the old logo was not communicating the correct brand image us as a marketing team wanted to portray. Therefore, I set out to design a logo which voiced the cutting edge and innovative technology the RX series has to offer.
The new logo needed to portray a more modern brand image which would be attractive and eye-catching in order to entice new customers and build upon existing business.
What is the meaning behind the design of the new logo?
The shape of the logo is inspired by the seamless, dynamic workflow of a Randox laboratory. This modern innovative logo speaks quality and reliability with its flowing design and robust RX typeface.
The simple, clean cut, iconic design is instantly recognisable and gives us a superior edge over our competitors.
The logo helps reflect the brand image of innovative technology at the heart of the laboratory.
Why did you change the colours of the logo and what is the reason behind the new chosen colours?
I wanted to strengthen the relationship between the RX series and Randox brands. The green now correlates with the green in the Randox brand, therefore strengthening overall brand awareness.
The subtle introduction of black in the palette creates a strong clean contrast against the Randox green and communicates power and clarity.
How did you decide on the final logo?
After much in-depth research and sketching, the design was then created digitally using Illustrator®.
The final decision was a two-step process. I selected my preferred designs and presented these to the marketing team who voted on their two favourite designs. These two designs were then brought forward to senior management to make the final decision. I was absolutely delighted that my favourite of the two was chosen.
As a team, we believe that the new logo will be instantly recognisable to customers worldwide and synonymous with high quality, reliable clinical chemistry testing. Initial feedback has been very encouraging and we look forward to strengthening our presence globally through our modern, innovative logo.
Make sure to check out our social media accounts for more!
This week our WeAreRandox feature is a story from James Crilly, one of our QC Marketing Executives. Before James came to work in Randox he travelled to Misisi as part of Project Zambia. James took some time out to reflect on his Zambian adventure and tell us a little bit about what he got up to.
“Back when I attended St Mary’s Grammar school in Belfast I applied to take part in Project Zambia. It’s a Belfast based registered charity that first started up in 2002 by Dr Donaldson from St Marys CBGS Belfast. The aim of project Zambia is to help support and empower host communities to develop solutions to their problems and difficulties.
“Dr Donaldson had been my RE teacher and had always entertained during lessons with videos, pictures and old stories of Zambia. So when I finally reached Upper Sixth and had the opportunity to apply to take part in Project Zambia I jumped at it. We were told at the time that those with the best AS results would be given first priority. The next day at assembly they called out the names of the 13 students who had been chosen and thankfully I made the cut. We teamed up with thirteen other students from St Dominic’s Girls’ School and started to prepare for our journey together that Easter.
“As part of the process we each had to raise £1500 that would go towards our flights, hostels, food and equipment. One of the first ideas I had was to complete a 10K run at Shaw’s bridge. However on the day of the run there was snow! I decided I would go ahead with the fundraiser despite the weather and turned the 10K run into a 10K walk. I organised church talks in my local parish where I spoke to the local community about Project Zambia. There was a lot of interest and I managed to raise £2500 which I put straight into my ‘Zambia Funds’ piggybank. One lady who came up to me after the mass donated £500 which was amazing. I also did a 24 hour fast and my old primary school ‘Holy Trinity’ hosted a non-uniform day which raised £450.
“I remember being surprised when we touched down in Zambia airport to see how developed it was. When you think about Zambia the first thing that comes to mind is poverty but the airport was quite surprising. It wasn’t like Heathrow airport but there were a couple of shops, you could get a coffee and they had different terminals. It was worlds apart from where we were going to be.
“When we arrived in Lusaka, Zambia one of the first places we went was called Misisi. This was a slum that could be found right along a railway track. Misisi has been identified as one of the five worst slums in Sub-Saharan Africa so it isn’t hard to imagine the horrific scenes we encountered here. I can honestly say it’s probably one of the worst places I have ever seen with sewage, rubbish and urine everywhere. But right in the middle of it is a little school called St Catherine’s which housed all the children from the Misisi area. The school was literally just a couple of small buildings and right around the buildings was a stone wall with a huge cast iron gate. When we asked why such a rundown area would go to such measures we were told it was built to stop men from getting in and kidnapping the children for prostitution.
“Finding this out really shocked us and we decided to help the school appear more child friendly and welcoming for the children. We painted all the classrooms, hung up numbers pictures and those who were artistic drew images of Disney characters on the classroom walls. We also built a toilet because if the children needed to go to the bathroom they had to go out the back and into a small brick shelter that had a small little bucket. Once they had finished they had to throw the content in the bucket down a hole which ran out into the compound adding to the horrific smell and unsanitary conditions.
“Another place that we visited was ‘The Home of Hope’ which was just outside Misisi and was made up of two large metal containers and run by a priest called Brother Isaac. It housed boys who were anything between 6 months old to 18 years old and there were about 40 children in total there. There was one classroom and one bedroom which had six bunk beds in it. You got about two children to each bunk and the rest had to sleep on the floor. As you can imagine there was rivalry between the children to see who got to sleep in the bunk beds and usually the older children over-ruled the younger children.
“While there we helped put the finishing touches to the roof of the school they were building and cleaned up the surrounding area. It was overrun with weeds and high grass which wasn’t really safe for the children. We wanted them to be able to play safely on the grounds and if they fell and hurt themselves they wouldn’t have access to any medical supplies. I was here for about four days and really got the opportunity to interact with all the kids. They were interested in sports and loved playing football with us. So one afternoon we went into the nearest shopping centre and bought them basketball hoops, footballs, football nets, basketball nets board games, chalks and pencils which they loved.
“Another memory I have of being there was attending the funeral of the son of Peter Tembo, co-founder of Project Zambia. There were 100s and 100s of Zambian people there and only about 20 of us from the school. They called us ‘Mazungus’ which means white person. It might seem strange to say it was a privilege to attend the funeral but this was very much unheard of in Zambia. White people didn’t get asked to come along to local funerals which shows the high regard that they had for Project Zambia and its volunteers. The white people who live in Zambia live behind guarded 15 foot high walls and razor sharp barbed wire. They have golf courses and swimming pools and live in a completely different world from the local Zambian people. The locals would have never have seen the light of day in their territory. You would know who had money and who didn’t even among the Zambians by whether or not they had hair. A lot of people had shaved heads due to head lice and had no shoes and dirty rags on their back.
“One of the last places I went to was Kabwata Orphanage which was run by two nuns. Here there were about 70 children who had either been abandoned by their family or had none. We did a bit of DIY work which involved putting up bunkbeds, chests of drawers and paintings. Here I had the pleasure of meeting one little guy called Mosses who came to Kabwata Orphanage when he was only one years old. He had been abandoned and left on the roadside in a moses basket and that’s how he got his name. He’s now sixteen and doing really well in school. He has high aspirations for the future and possibly could be become a teacher which is a career that is looked upon highly in Zambia.
“On Easter Saturday before we left we stayed in a hostel and about half a mile away, there was a large church. One day we decided to go and check it out and as we were walking up to it you could hear music and people singing. Once we turned the corner of the church I saw a sea of thousands of Zambians: there were men beating on drums and women dressed in their Sunday best, waving palms and dancing and singing, creating waves of colour below me. It was sight I will never forget. These people had literally nothing but yet were so happy and welcoming to us. We got to join in on the celebration which was amazing and I would honestly go back tomorrow if I got the chance.
“My little brother Owen is going over on 27th June for ten days so I decided to help him out by doing a bun sale in Randox. I was up till midnight the night before baking and we raised £243.89 which was great. He’s also going to be doing a 10K run at Black Mountain and a non-uniform day in his old primary school. I had saved about £200 from when I went to Zambia because I knew one day he would go himself. I kept it in a little red container and my mum hid it in her room so no-one could get to it. He said he might shave his head but that depends on how well the rest of the fundraising goes! I’ll make sure to keep you updated on that one.”
For more information about fundraising at Randox please contact email@example.com
Yesterday we had two Randox teams compete in the Belfast City Marathon, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Suzanne Smillie, Fintan Geoghegan, Ciaran Orchin, Ashleigh McKinstry and Rebecca Molloy made up The Incredible Immunoglobins team. They finished in a fantastic time of 4:23:45, in 1074th position.
Katie Lawther, Maeve McAllister, Michael Thompson, Chloe Carlin and Mark Spence ran as The Marvellous Monoclonals and finished in an impressive 4:02:28, which put them into 560th position.
We are delighted to announce that so far both teams have collectively raised a fabulous £566.64 for The Alzheimer’s Society, with donations continuing to flood in!
A huge congratulations to both teams for taking on this amazing challenge and for raising so much money for such a worthwhile cause.
Upon completing the marathon, Team Captain of the Marvellous Monoclonals, Katie Lawther told us;
“The race was fantastic, the hot weather made it tough going but it was much better than rain! The atmosphere was electric in the whole city with the streets lined with people cheering every runner on.
“During the first 3 legs the two teams ran together, and then within the last two legs my team clinched the victory! On the day though we were just glad everyone finished and ran so well, it felt like everyone had won so that was an amazing feeling. There were also a few other people running for Alzheimer’s Society which was great to see.
“After the race we all met at the finish line to collect our medals, and then we all headed to eat lunch in Stranmillis along the river which was really lovely. An amazing part of my day was seeing Laura Graham coming over the finish line, she is the first Northern Irish winner in 18 years!”
The Incredible Immunoglobulins Team Captain, Suzanne Smillie, commented;
“None of us can believe how lucky we were with the weather – though there are a few burnt scientists around the Firfields site today, myself included!
“The race went very well (aside from a little changeover confusion at the start of Leg 4 for The Incredible Immunoglobulins – Fintan and I could not find each other which lead to a separation between the two teams who, until that point, were neck and neck). The Marvellous Monoclonals won the battle completing the 26.2 mile course in just over four hours.
“I would like to say a big thank you for everybody’s support at Randox, and for your donations. It is very much appreciated.”
If you would still like to donate to our Marathon Runner’s Just Giving page you can do so by clicking on the link below:
Thank you for your generosity.