Maryfield Hospital - Associated Laboratories and Research
The Combined Department of Clinical Chemistry for the Dundee General Hospitals was formed under Peter D Griffiths in 1966. The department was radically reorganised with duplication between laboratories ceasing. The high volume, rapid response work was based at D.R.I. and the slower response work at Maryfield Hospital.
Peter EG Mitchell, from Aberdeen, was appointed as Consultant in 1966 and worked in the combined department until his retiral in 1992. After Mitchell's initial training in Aberdeen, he took up appointments with Professor Hans Krebs, in Oxford, and Professor NF Maclagan in the Westminster Hospital, London, where he developed an interest in proteins. He returned to Aberdeen prior to his appointment in Dundee.
Margaret CK Browning, who had worked as Research Assistant and then as Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics laboratory at Maryfield Hospital before going to the Regional Steroid Laboratory in Glasgow in 1964, was appointed in 1966 as Senior Biochemist responsible for the steroid laboratory. About that time paper chromatography was superseded by thin layer chromatography. Fluorimetric and radiometric assays were also available. (The first liquid scintillation counter was built in 1962/3 in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics into an ice-cream freezer.)
One of the projects carried out at that time was a joint study with St Thomas's Hospital in London. This involved producing a steroid profile from 24 hour specimens of urine from a group of lesbians (who were hoping that they could be shown to have some physiological abnormality). Griffiths was invited to present the results of this study when attending a meeting in London. When he arrived to give his paper, he found he was addressing the members of the Caxton Hall Society, who had provided the specimens. Browning was appointed as Principal Biochemist in Endocrinology in the late 1970s and retired in 1993. (ref: 62)
Paddy Mathers (later McFarlane) was responsible for the enzyme assays. Griffiths, who had an interest in muscular dystrophy, obtained samples from racehorses to investigate their "Monday morning disease". The legs of racehorses (and cart horses in days of yore) became totally stiff and the horses were unable to work out. In common with patients with muscular dystrophy, the horses were found to have very high creatine kinase levels. (ref: 62)
Margaret I McCathie (later Gibb), who had been appointed to the Dundee Royal Infirmary ca. 1962, specialised in protein electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis.
Michael J Stewart, who had been appointed at Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1968, set up a drug assay service assisted by Mary Palmer (who had moved to Maryfield Hospital from Strathmartine Hospital, Dundee, in the late 1960s, along with the high voltage electrophoretic and chromatographic method for amino acid screening) and Elliott Simpson (whose sister-in-law, Marjory Burnett/Simpson had been a member of the department from 1958 to 1962).
Mark L Salkie, who had been appointed as Lecturer in the late 1960s, was appointed as Consultant in Stockport in 1971 and moved to Edmonton, Canada, in 1975.
The laboratory at Maryfield Hospital was closed when that part of the department moved to Ninewells Hospital in 1973.
Dundee Royal Infirmary (D.R.I.) 1940s and 50s
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