Pathology under the spotlight

Pathology under the spotlight

The science behind headline-hitting ‘Superbugs’ and the crucial role of forensics in solving crimes will come under the spotlight at a free public talk in Aberdeen next week.

Two leading clinical academics from the University of Aberdeen will outline the cutting-edge contribution of pathology to healthcare, on Monday (November 1) at the Suttie Centre for Learning and Teaching in Healthcare at Foresterhill.

Professor Hamish McKenzie, Head of Division of Medical and Dental Education at he University and Honorary Consultant in Medical Microbiology for NHS Grampian will discuss the role microbiologists play in the diagnosis and management of infection.

While Dr James Grieve from the University’s Pathology Department will provide a fascinating insight into the world of forensic pathology.

The event – which begins at 6pm - is part of the institution’s Café Med series which provides a forum for the public to hear first-hand from scientists and clinicians involved in a range of common medical conditions.

It is one in a series of events taking place in the city to mark National Pathology Week.

Professor McKenzie said: “Everybody has an understanding of infection – from the coughs and sneezes we experience ourselves to the superbugs which hit the headlines.

“Work being conducted by microbiologists at the University of Aberdeen and in the diagnostic laboratories of NHS Grampian  is dedicated to ‘finding the culprit’ when it comes to infection– from diagnosis through to management.

“Each patient comes with their own set of personal, social and clinical circumstances, so each presents a unique diagnostic challenge.  Added to that, the micro-organisms are constantly changing and new ones emerging, so the battle against infection is never ending – it’s a moving target. 

“My talk will look at the important role microbiologists have to play in tackling issues such as infections in hospitals and understanding the potential superbug threats which could lie ahead of us in the future.”

Dr Grieve will discuss the reality of the professional life of the forensic pathologist, one of the smallest sub specialities of pathology, but widely known and misrepresented by entertainment in the crime genre including novels, films and television.

Forensic pathology involves the specialist using medical expertise to assist in the detection of crime and the satisfactory prosecution of criminals, but also in establishing the cause of sudden and unexpected death in the community and in hospital. 

Dr Grieve will explore the participation of the pathologist in the criminal justice team and his role in determining who the victim is, when he died and how he came by his fate.

Finding the Culprit- a Café Med special for National Pathology Week – is free to attend and advance booking is not required.

For more information on this talk, and the full programme of events organised by the University of Aberdeen’s Public Engagement with Science team visit:

Café Med is supported by a science engagement grant from the Scottish Government.