Genomics Champion: Rachel Thomas

Rachel Thomas
Senior Biomedical Scientist
Wrexham Maelor Hospital

My name is Rachel Thomas and I am a Senior Biomedical Scientist working in Wrexham Maelor Hospital within the PHW Microbiology laboratory. My role involves the oversight of the bacteriology laboratory in Wrexham, processing key samples such as blood cultures and sterile fluids for microscopy, culture and the identification of pathogenic micro-organisms. 

Within the last year the laboratory has extended its scope to include Covid testing for both routine in-patient screening and rapid diagnostic tests, utilising various molecular platforms.

The ability to rapidly identify and characterise pathogenic samples in order to effectively manage patient care as well as monitor the epidemiology of infectious diseases has led to the implementation of genomics as part of various new workflow pathways within Microbiology. With this in mind in April 2018 I embarked on a Genomic Medicine Msc, which I successfully completed in March 2020. 

The skills and knowledge gained have given me an insight in to how genomics can shape the future of the clinical Microbiology service. The ability to have a good understanding of the results provided by the PHW Pathogen Genomics Unit has enabled a better working relationship with the reference unit and provides an overall improved service for our users.

Becoming a genomic champion felt like the natural progression following on from the completion of my Msc. I aim to promote the use of genomics within the field of Microbiology and urge my colleagues through training and education programmes to gain an overview and general understanding of how genomics can be utilised within our field.