This facility handles, processes and analyses blood samples for biomarkers using various immunoassay techniques. This includes radio-immunoassay (RIA), enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) and multiplex assays (Luminex Bio-plex 200 platform and Meso Scale Discovery Quickplex SQ120).

The senior staff members (Dr Gwen Kennedy & Mrs Lesley McFarlane) each have over 20 years’ experience in the handling, processing and analysing blood samples for biomarkers using various immunoassay techniques. This includes radio-immunoassay (RIA), enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) and multiplex assays (Luminex Bio-plex 200 platform and Meso Scale Discovery Quickplex SQ120).

The Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory also houses the School of Medicine two flow cytometers:- Becton Dickinson LSRFortessa and Attune Acoustic Focusing flow cytometer.

All staff members have current Good Clinical Practice (GCP) certificates and have attended both GLP and GCLP training courses. We can provide help and advice on the selection and performance of immunoassays. Sample requirements and handling for optimal results. We can help you with sample processing/ handling / reformatting and logistics. We can offer a full service to measure samples for you or provide training on using the instruments thereafter only usage charges applied.

Popular biomarkers

Total GLP-1


Uric acid


Active GLP-1




















25 OH D




1,25(OH) D








Nitric oxide










Vit D BP


















Lipid profile




Costs vary depending on the biomarker and the number of samples to be measured. Routinely we measure all biomarkers in duplicate and QCs are included within the assays, costs are therefore based on usually on sets of 38 duplicate measurements.

Sample processing and sample handling

We have extensive knowledge on the importance of handling blood samples from the choice of blood collection tubes to accurate specimen aliquoting to ensure an acceptable level of quality in these samples and to enhance the reproducibility and comparability of test results derived from these specimens.

We understand that proper sample collection and handling (Pre-analytical Phase) is an integral part of obtaining a valid and timely laboratory test result.

Sample storage

We have experience in the optimal storage of samples (4°C, -20°C, and 80°C short-term storage available). The -80°C freezers are connected to a text alert alarm system, which is monitored continuously and daily temperature logs for refrigerators and -20°C freezers. Sample management and tracking is available using 2D data-matrix (single or 96 well format) or barcode scanner and tracking details and sample ID saved onto excel spread sheet format.

Sample logistics

Our experience in transfer of biological samples from one location to another is another provision the immunoassay laboratory can provide. For example frozen samples can be sent or received (nationally or internationally) by us on your behalf or we can organise the fresh clinical samples to be posted in specialised pre- paid postal boxes to us for sample processing and assaying.

Equipment and facilities

Dedicated equipment

  • Biological Safety Cabinet (Class II)
  • Various Plate washers for 96 well, deep well plates
  • Bio-plex Wash Station-incorporates a magnetic plate carrier for reliable, hands-free wash steps on magnetic bead-based assays (xMAP assays)
  • Grant- Bio Thermo shaker PHMP - 4 plate shaker & incubator (temp range 25°C to 60°C)
  • 6 plate vibrating platform shaker (Heidolph Titramax 1000)
  • Incubator (Stuart S160) easy access working chamber (RT to 60°C)
  • 2D barcode scanners (handheld, single tube or 96 plate formats)
  • Various Calibrated Single pipettes (0.5µl to 10.0ml) [Eppendorf, positive displacement, Nichipet fatigue free]
  • Various Calibrated Multi-channel 8 & 12 pipettes (0.5µl to 200µl)
  • Ultra cold -80°C freezers- linked to wireless alarm, monitoring and data logging system
  • -40°C freezers- linked to wireless alarm, monitoring and data logging system
  • 4-8°C c cold storage- alarm system
  • Cold rack for sample handling ensuring samples remain frozen
  • Various centrifuges (RT & cold) [plates, micro tubes to 50ml tubes)
  • Water baths
  • Sonicator
  • Denley spiramix

Flow cytometry

The Becton Dickinson LSRFortessa is a benchtop analyser equipped with three lasers, a 488nm, a 633nm and a 405nm, which allows up to thirteen parameter analysis (two scatter detectors and eleven colour specific detectors).

The Attune Acoustic Focusing cytometer is equipped with 405nm and 488nm lasers and capable of 8 parameter analysis. This system also contains an Autosampler allowing uptake of samples from multiwell plates.

Immunoassay detection and measurements

Liquid handling

Gilson Flexus is a state-of-the-art robotic platform

Sophisticated and flexible liquid handling capabilities with robotic manipulation. The open architecture of Flexus allows for simple plug’n’play integration of a variety of peripheral devices that enable complete protocols to be automated. Separate robotic and pipetting arms ensures that robotic function can work independently to increase throughput and efficiency. The Flexus system in the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory has 2 robotic arms; the first is a 270° rotating microplate gripper, to turn a plate for cross pipetting or improved access to other modules on or off the deck and can increase deck capacity by stacking plates; and the second is a pipetting arm with 8 individual washable tip probes (volume range 1μl - 1ml), it has individual Y and Z movement with individual level sensors.

CyBi-Well Pipettor Device

A fixed head, disposable tip pipettor for 96 well formats for volume ranges from 0.2µL to 1000µL. The pipettor is ideal for high throughput screening (HTS) or research environments. It is ideal for reformatting, replication and plate coating.

The system in the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory has a 5-position moving plate track carriage with space for processed plates and other accessories such as tip washing stations or reagent reservoirs and two chimney plate stackers.

4 x 96 plates to 1 x 384 plate

Fluid X XSP-200 Single Channel Sample Processor

The XSP-200 liquid handling and sample formatting workstation provides flexible system that can be used without the need for programming. You only need to provide a simple work list on Excel (converted to CSV format). You are able to cherry pick your samples individually for liquid handling or as a full 96 format. The Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory has the workstation primarily set up to pipette from Eppendorf tube [the platform has special Eppendorf sample tube holders will hold the bent open caps back out of the way] into 96 microplates or 1.2ml tubes (96 format). The volume range for pipetting is 10µl to 1.0ml. Our instrument is fitted with disposable tip option. Each tip once used is expended into biological waste bag therefore no contamination of samples.

Multidrop Combi Reagent Dispenser

Thermo Scientific™ Multidrop™ Combi Reagent Dispenser, designed to support the varied requirements of pharmaceutical and biotechnology laboratories. It combines the most versatile features for reagent dispensing with excellent performance for drug discovery or genomic and proteomic assays. It handles a wide selection of plates and volume range and provides fast dispensing and high-throughput operation. The instrument is intended for automated dispensing of up to eight different reagents simultaneously. Provides precise dispensing over a 0.5 to 2500μL range, ensuring reproducible assay data. It can accommodate microplates from 6 to 1536 wells and plate heights of 5 to 50mm. Minimal dead volume and back-flushing reduces reagent costs. It uses eight-channel detachable and autoclavable dispensing cassettes that are standard across the multidrop range.

Various Adjustable Tip Spacing Multichannel

The Thermo Scientific E1- ClipTip Electronic Adjustable Tip Spacing Multichannel Equalizer pipettes perform sample transfers between virtually any tube, rack, microplate or horizontal gel box quickly and efficiently. Adjustable tip spacing allows you to set the distance between tips by simply sliding the scale to expand or contract to the desired labware format. Volume range available within the Immunoassay Biomarker Core Laboratory is 2µl to 1250µl covered by two electronic adjustable multichannel pipettes.

4titude 4s3 variabe Temperature Thermal Sealer

‌The 4s3 is a semi-automatic thermal sealer which is compatible with a wide range of seals and plates or 96 individually racked tubes of differing designs and heights. With variable temperature and time settings, sealing conditions are easily optimised to produce a 100% seal, eliminating sample loss. Plate and seal are placed on the holder, the "Operate" button pressed and the drawer automatically closes. The sealing process is controlled by an electric mechanism. This unique feature eliminates operator variation, giving a consistent seal every time and reducing the damage caused to microplates by over-sealing.

96 INDI™ Seal enables sealing of certain Polypropylene 96well format round well plates or 96 individually racked tubes, such as cluster racks and 2D barcoded racked tubes.


School of Medicine
Ninewells Hospital
View facility on Campus Map


Dr Gwen Kennedy
 +44 (0)1382 383048

Lesley McFarlane
 +44 (0)1382 383114