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Lab Technician & Anthropometrist
I obtained a BSc (Hons) Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Oxford Brookes University in December 2009. From June 2010 to August 2012, I worked as a Medical Laboratory Assistant in the Department of Microbiology at the John Radcliffe Hospital. My main role was to process biological samples using aseptic techniques under standard operating procedures. I started work as an Anthropometrist/Laboratory technician on the INTERBIO 21st Project in September 2012.
INTERBIO-21st is a component study of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. INTERBIO is a large international study being carried out in 7 collaborating sites around the world (Brazil; Nairobi and Kilifi, Kenya; Pakistan; Thailand; South Africa and the UK ) that aims to assess fetal and newborn growth in health and disease. I am one of 6 INTERBIO-21st anthropometrists/laboratory technicians employed at the Oxford site. We have several roles, one of which is to collect and process biological samples. We process samples of maternal blood, cord blood and placenta, and buccal swabs from infants at their 1st and 2nd birthdays. We are involved in the storage of thousands of samples sent to Oxford from the collaborating sites.
Another key responsibility of the team is to carry out anthropometric measurements of newborn babies and infants aged one and two years. These measurements include head and arm circumference, length, weight and skinfold measurements. We also assess the body composition (fat and fat-free mass) of the newborns using a machine called a PeaPod.
We assess the neurodevelopment of infants at 2 years of age using the INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment Package. This is a 45 minute assessment that includes tests of vision, cortical auditory processing (using EEG), neuropsychological outcomes (cognition, language skills, behaviour, motor skills, attention and social-emotional reactivity) and sleep-wake patterns.
The team also have a number of administrative roles. We organise the follow-up of the Oxford infants, contact General Practitioners, enter data and carry out quality control checks. A key part of our role is to liaise with the women participating in the study, hospital staff and other researchers within the department.