Dr John Tyson
Head of innovation lab
John has overall responsibility for lab operations and ensuring strong partnerships with industry, academia and the NHS, working closely with Newcastle hospitals’ senior management and clinical teams.
With a PhD in molecular genetics, John started his career in academic research and has ten years’ experience in the development of molecular assays and medical devices. He has led the development of in-vitro diagnostic tests on a novel point of care platform as well as the development of underlying technologies. John has also established and managed the delivery of a range of molecular testing services in a commercial laboratory.
Dr Caroline Wilson
Caroline is responsible for developing scientific links between the NHS, industry and academia, evolving innovative research, evaluating and assessing new technologies and molecular assays. This includes horizon scanning for new technologies in a quest to future-proof the diagnostics landscape.
Caroline studied medical microbiology and immunology and has almost twenty years’ scientific experience. Prior to joining the innovation lab, Caroline was a research fellow at Newcastle University working on a broad range of molecular and immunological projects and a principal investigator studying liver disease and tumour immunology.
Dr Simon Rock
Simon is responsible for developing, evaluating and assessing new molecular assays, fostering links between the NHS, academia and industry and being informed about developments in research and technology that may advance future diagnostics.
Simon has a PHD in microbiology and has worked on a variety of research topics from the development of the nervous system and congenital heart disease to complex genetic interactions and personalised medicine. More recently, he took up a fellowship with Kidney Research UK to develop new treatments for an inherited form of childhood kidney disease, leading to the development of a novel genetic approach. His work across multiple disciplines has equipped him with a broad knowledge of various molecular assays.
Diagnostic evaluation healthcare scientist
Amanda supports all aspects of the design and delivery of research and evaluation including study design, protocol development, participant identification and recruitment, and provides specific methodological expertise to the team.
Amanda has worked in the NHS for over ten years and originally trained in microbiology and virology. Prior to joining the team she worked as a biomedical scientist specialising in haematology and transplantation science. On gaining her MSc in biomedical science, Amanda became a methodologist at the National Institute for Health Research Newcastle In-vitro Diagnostics Co-operative.
Dr Donna Nile
Donna manages our biobank repository, which contains 1000s of biological samples collected from our regional Lighthouse laboratory and partnering laboratories within our network. The biobank provides clients with access to the valuable samples they need to help develop their diagnostic tests.
Donna is an experienced cancer research scientist with over 15 years’ laboratory experience in both academia and industry. During her time in academia, she drove ground-breaking advancement within paediatric oncology and the genetics of type 2 diabetes. Her experience in industry includes working with Unilever to validate a model of gene silencing.
Commercial business manager
Melanie provides a dedicated point of contact for clients and commercial partners looking to engage the services of the lab
She works to identify client requirements, establish good relationships, develop service agreements and to market the lab.
Melanie has over 25 years’ experience in a variety of commercial roles in the private sector from start-ups to FTSE 250 companies. She has a wealth of experience in product development, launching products to market and driving commercial activity.
Jamie is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and developing our in-house quality system to ensure we are delivering high quality services for our clients that comply with international standards. This includes striving for excellence in all of our services and promoting continuous improvement across the lab.
Jamie has over ten years’ experience in quality management within laboratory environments. Prior to joining the North East Innovation Laboratory, Jamie was a key member of the quality team at the Integrated Covid Hub North East Lighthouse Laboratory. His background is in building and advancing a quality focused culture to UKAS accredited standards within medical, environmental and asbestos sectors.
Healthcare science associate practitioner
Cara’s role at the lab involves assisting in the assessment and development of diagnostic tests and support ongoing projects.
Cara’s science career began as an undergraduate in forensic science and criminology at Northumbria University and from here she took her master’s degree in biotechnology. Her background is in diagnostics and genetic testing, and Cara worked for companies with this focus prior to her role at the lab.