Huddersfield research team visit Zurich labs

ETH Zurich's building

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 12:00:00 BST

Earlier this year, Dr Pauline Balańá and PhD student Claire Boakes (pictured, in the lab) visited ETH Zurich, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university in Zürich, Switzerland, with the assistance of a generous travel award from Santander. They visited the laboratories of the Human Nutrition Institute in order to learn a new technique to measure thyroglobulin from dried blood spots.

Claire Boakes working in the lab Thyroglobulin levels in blood are raised in iodine deficiency, which is currently a concern in the UK as many young women are thought to be mildly iodine deficient. This can cause a problem in pregnancy and can result in babies with a lowered IQ.

The University of Huddersfield is currently undertaking a study to measure the iodine status of women of reproductive age in West Yorkshire. The study will use the new ELISA technique (Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbant Assay) to measure the thyroglobulin levels in dried blood spots and compare with urinary iodine concentration and food frequency questionnaires to assess the iodine status of participants.

ETH Zurich is a highly respected institution where we were made very welcome and we were also able to attend a student seminar on zinc fortification.

Zurich is a very clean, attractive city, with an efficient public tram system, so travelling around is really easy. The visit coincided with the first night of Züri Fäscht, which is a festival held every three years involving air displays, high diving and musical fireworks around the shores of Lake Zurich.

The Department would like to thank Sara Stinca and Sandra Weibel from ETH Zurich for spending time demonstrating the ELISA technique and we look forward to possible future exchanges. We also acknowledge the generosity of Santander in awarding the travel grant.

If you would like more information about the current study, then please e-mail Claire.Boakes@hud.ac.uk for more information.

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