For the December edition of SCOPE we spoke to Taffy about her role in the TestEd project and her life outside the lab.
Can you tell us a little about your role?
I started working with TestEd in March 2021. The laboratory technologists on the project are mainly responsible for the daily processing and analysing of data, from saliva samples collected from the many sites on campus using RNA extraction and RT-qPCR methods.
Throughout the research project, I have especially taken up an active and lead role in automating our saliva pooling protocols to reliably and more cost-effectively accommodate a high throughput of samples using specialised liquid handling equipment.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to troubleshoot our way out of some of the challenges we have faced in working to achieve the testing strategy aims of the research project, as well as addressing the ongoing pandemic needs for the University as they unfold. One of the highlights in my role has been being able to successfully homogenise the saliva samples to be able to process them on our automated liquid handling robots. Some saliva samples are terribly gloopier than others!
Why do you think it’s important that staff sign up to Test Ed?
TestEd offers a non-invasive test that is quick and easy to take. The more members of staff that voluntarily sign up and regularly test twice a week for Covid-19, the safer the working environment is likely to be.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy volunteering in my local church and serving the local community, providing food and clothing to those in need. I have also recently joined a local park run group and run with them three times a week in the mornings. My goal is to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon 2022 for the first time ever.