Analytical science experts LGC held an open evening this week to help explain the nature of the work they undertake.
Due to the type of the work carried out on the LGC site, it is secured behind sturdy fences patrolled by security guards but the work is by no means a mystery! The headquarters of the LGC Group employs over 500 staff here in Teddington whilst other offices and laboratories can be found across the UK and Europe, as well as a number of other international locations including Brazil, China and the US. The group consists of four operating divisions:
LGC Forensics supports the police and crime enforcement agencies and private sector clients with evidence examination. At the open evening a fun mock murder crime-scene and ‘who-dunnit’ test demonstrated the types of evidence that are all used to positively identify suspects. In this case using a combination of material analysis, footprint identification and DNA cross-referencing. LGC Forensics featured in a recent Crimewatch special “Catch me if you can” that detailed the methods used by modern police forces to catch particularly elusive criminals.
LGC Genomics offers services and products to molecular biologists who want to extract and sequence DNA for genetic research. One example of LGC’s genetic research is an ongoing project to demonstrate that a patient’s genotype plays an important role in the effective prescribing of anticoagulation (anti-blood-clotting) drugs such as Warfarin.
LGC Science and Technology offers analytical research and consultancy services for government and private companies. Research projects often span several years and a current study is underway to use residual isotopes in a hair sample to determine in which country the subject has been in recent months (determined from the isotope signature of ingested foods and drinking water).
The LGC Standards division supplies key products and services to companies and bodies around the world to ensure universally accurate measurement in items such as alcohol content, drug strength and industrial measurements – all to ensure quality control for products.
HFL Sport Science is a recent addition to the LGC Group which brings with it doping test expertise for the sporting world – including screening race horses and applying kite marks to athletes supplements to ensure no banned substances are accidentally taken.
In one lab a huge ‘Neptune’ mass-spectrometer sits quietly humming in the corner, awaiting its next isotope measurement. The many rooms and laboratories snake away from the main reception area and as you explore the building you feel the weight of the importance of the complex work that goes on here.