Centre for Inflammation Research

Flow Cytometry Team recognised with Hidden REF Award

December 2021: Shonna Johnson, Will Ramsay, and Mari George, of QMRI's Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility, receive a Hidden REF Award.

The Hidden REF Awards aim to celebrate and recognise those who are vital to the success of research, but who are often overlooked when research impact is traditionally judged. The Flow Cytometry team were recognised in the "Hidden Role" category of the awards.

Since 2012, The QMRI (Queens Medical Research Institute) Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting Facility at the University of Edinburgh has been staffed by a dynamic team of 3 technologists, Shonna Johnson, Will Ramsay, and Mari George. The facility functions as an autonomous unit hosted by the Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR). Most recently, the team was key in supporting COVID research by ensuring relevant health and safety documentation was prepared and adapting procedures to allow clinical trials to progress smoothly.

We are thrilled to have been nominated for the Hidden Role category in the 2021 Hidden REF. As a team, we work hard to provide a high quality service to our researchers.  This was especially true in the early days of the lockdown last year to ensure that staff and users could return, effectively and safely, to the facility; initially for critical covid-19 research but eventually for non-covid research as well. To have our expertise and dedication acknowledged in such a way – with a framed certificate no less! – makes it all worthwhile and is greatly appreciated.

The Flow Cytometry team
Mari George, Will Ramsay, and Shonna Johnston wearing lab coats, smiling in a lab
Mari George, Will Ramsay, and Shonna Johnston

Inflammatory disorders are amongst the major killers in the UK and, uncontrolled, can lead to scarring and organ dysfunction.  Flow cytometry is a well-established method for identifying inflammatory cells.

The facility staff support research by ensuring the state-of-the-art instruments are maintained to a high standard, with emphasis on tracking instrument performance to ensure quality data and reproducibility. The team provide specialist expertise and are responsible for developing training and supporting researchers in all aspects of flow cytometry from sample preparation, panel design, sample acquisition, to data analysis and interpretation.  This teaching extends to undergraduate learning via practical tutorials and data analysis training.  Nationally, they are also approached by other institutions for professional advice and are able to secure commercial contracts for assay development.

The Flow Cytometry team are adept at validating and implementing new techniques, anticipating changing demands, and seizing opportunities to network and advance themselves and the facility to the benefit of research outputs. Their work has supported and enhanced sustainability efforts, public engagement involvement and the Technician’s Commitment.  

I nominated these technologists, as a team, as their achievements are based in their support each other and their willingness to exceed expectations. They provide a friendly and supportive research environment, and are integral to the vast majority of successful publications and grant applications that come from CIR.

Paul FitchCentre Manager, Centre for Inflammation Research


Find out more:

Hidden REF

QMRI Flow Cytometry & Cell Sorting Facility