Medical Laboratory scientists work in healthcare and carry out a range of laboratory tests and techniques on tissue samples and fluids to help clinicians diagnose diseases. They also evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.
Their work is extremely important for many hospital departments and the functions they carry out are wide ranging. For example, they may work on medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, AIDS, malaria, food poisoning or anaemia, or carry out tests for emergency blood transfusions or to see if someone has had a heart attack.
Medical Laboratory scientists tend to specialise in one particular area including:
- histopathology - microscopic examination of diseased tissue samples;
- cytology - best known for cervical smear screening, but also covers other cellular analysis;
- immunology - understanding the immune system and its role in combating disease;
- medical microbiology - identification of micro-organisms causing disease and their antibiotic treatment;
- haematology - form and functions of blood and related diseases;
- virology - identification of viruses, associated diseases and monitoring the effectiveness of vaccines.
- clinical chemistry - analysis of body fluids and toxicology studies;
- transfusion science - determination of donor/recipient blood compatibility, ensuring blood banks are sufficient;