You are here

Theme 6: Biomarkers in detection and triage

Following a major incident involving a hazardous agent, one of the first priorities is often working out exactly what substance we are dealing with.

Work in this theme is focused on the development of robust, rapid and reliable biomarkers that enable the identification of a chemical or radiation exposure and contribute to decisions about the management of casualties.

Using the substantial analytical resources of Newcastle’s Medical Toxicology Centre (MTC), we are conducting three main projects:

  • project one is ‘field testing’ the use of an existing MTC laboratory assay of the systemic effects of nerve agent exposure as a rapid screening technique for large numbers of individuals presenting at a hospital. The basic equipment required for this assay is routinely available in hospital laboratories
  • project two will develop novel biomonitoring methods to detect the use of organophosphates and identify the specific chemical involved
  • in project three, we will identify the challenges of and opportunities in incorporating biomonitoring capabilities into a Concept of Operation for medical first responders. 

Lead researchers

Professor Peter Blain

Professor of Environmental Medicine

Newcastle University

Professor John Simpson

Head of the Emergency Response Department & Deputy Director of the Health Protection Directorate at Public Health England

Public Health England