The Roslin Institute
Roslin logo

Campus volunteers support Covid-19 research

Staff volunteers provide essential administrative support to research involving all UK coronavirus patients in intensive care.

Sample transport boxes
Volunteers have produced sample transport boxes and posted them to hospitals.

More than 70 members of staff from the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies have volunteered to support research tackling Covid-19.

Researchers working on the study, called Genetics Of Mortality In Critical Care (GenOMICC), aim to analyse DNA samples taken from every Covid-19 patient in the UK whose treatment involved being put on a ventilator. They hope to find out why the disease affects some people more seriously than others, and to gain insights into potential treatments.

A strong response to a call for volunteers made it possible to increase the scope of the study from one-third of Intensive Care Units to nearly all in only three weeks.

Volunteers have been involved in a variety of administrative tasks, including contacting hospitals, setting up sample collection, building sample transport boxes and posting them to hospitals, and maintaining paperwork.

I am very proud of our community on campus, and of these staff who have volunteered to support the GenOMICC study. This contribution is essential. It will enable us to collect samples from as many Covid-19 intensive care patients as possible and shed some light on the severity of the disease.

Professor David ArgyleHead of Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies


The GenOMICC team at the Roslin Institute is recruiting in 122 ICUs across the country and this could not have been achieved without the tremendous support of all the staff who have volunteered. We are very thankful to everyone involved and look forward to understanding the genetic blueprints of severely ill Covid-19 patients and how this may inform future decisions on how to treat the disease.

Professor Bruce WhitelawDirector of the Roslin Institute

The small GenOMICC team at in the Roslin Institute have been working day and night to keep supplies going to ICUs to recruit critically ill patients. When we asked for help from the researchers, clinicians and support staff on Easter Bush campus, we had more than 70 offers within a few hours. The support from the community across the campus has been extraordinary.

Dr Kenneth BaillieAcademic Consultant in Critical Care Medicine and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

I have been incredibly lucky to work for this institution for close to 30 years and this is probably the only time that I have witnessed such a powerful response to an equally tough and global challenge. I feel very privileged and humbled to have been able to assist by contacting hospitals, trying to get them involved in the study, issuing documents for protocol and site set up as well as database access.

Jen MeikleFinance Office and Centre Administrator, Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health at the Roslin Institute

When the call for volunteers came out I wanted to do my bit to help the cause. I am part of a team of volunteers assembling and sending out testing boxes that go out daily to the hospitals taking part in the study. It feels a privilege to be able to support the tremendous work being carried by colleagues on campus. And it can get quite competitive to see how many packages you can send out each day!

Jane WeaverCampus Facilities Manager

** The Roslin Institute receives strategic investment funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and it is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. **

Related links

Genetics of Covid-19 patients is focus of study


£5m Covid-19 study seeks to understand virus impact

Roslin broadens research tackling Covid-19