This free symposium is in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Royal College of Pathologists. It is aimed at College fellows, members, trainees, medical students, and other stakeholders including Government, Politicians, Board Chief Executives, Medical Directors and the media.

Laboratory services are vital to healthcare. This symposium will highlight how such services provide an important foundation for a variety of key medical and surgical disciplines. 

In addition, topics will also include relevance to research, development and innovation, cutting edge cardiac marker and artificial intelligence advances. 

This very high profile programme of speakers will include the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientist, Chief Healthcare Science Officer and four Presidents of national bodies. 

Please note this is an in-person only symposium, which will be held at the Wolfson Hall, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW

There will be photography at this event to capture moments from the symposium. These images will be used for promotional purposes, in future publications and presentations and on our digital and social media channels, normally within a five-year period from the day of the event. If you do not wish to appear in any photographs, please let a member of the Event teams or a College staff member know and they will provide you with a red sticker. This should be worn throughout the day somewhere visible so our photographer can avoid taking your photo. 



09.15     Registration

09.30     Welcome and Introduction - Dr Bernie Croal, Chair RCPath Scotland

09.45     RCPath update - Professor Mike Osborn, President, Royal College of Pathologists

10.00     RCPath Cameron Memorial Lecture – Professor Sir Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer

10.40     The future Landscape of Diagnostics in Scotland - Catherine Ross, Scottish Chief Healthcare Science Officer

11.10     Tea/Coffee

11.25     Future Biomedical Scientist role in Pathology services - Debra Padgett, President, Institute of Biomedical Science

11.55     Antibiotic Resistance - Dr Vhairi Bateman, Aberdeen, Consultant Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

12.25     Lunch

13.15     Professor Freddie Flynn Lecture: Cardiac biomarkers and the transformation of acute cardiac care - Professor Nick Mills, Cardiology - University of Edinburgh

13.55     Precision Diagnostics - Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Chief Scientist (Health) for the Scottish Government; Regius Chair of Medicine , University of Glasgow

14.25     Insights from Clinical Immunology – Dr Charu Chopra, Consultant Immunologist, Edinburgh

14.55     Tea/Coffee

15.10     The importance of labs and pathology to surgery - Mr Mike McKirdy, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

15.40     The importance of pathology and lab medicine in relation to current and future developments with AI – Professor David Harrison, iCAIRD Director

16.10     Close


Event to be held at the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW

Please note this is an in-person only symposium, which will be held at the Wolfson Hall, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW




Scotland Symposium Speakers

  • Dr Bernie Croal

    Chair, Royal College of Pathologists

    Dr Bernie Croal is a Consultant Chemical Pathologist based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

    Bernie graduated in Honours Physiology (1989) and Medicine (1992) from Glasgow University and went on to train in General Medicine (FRCP 1998) and Clinical Biochemistry (FRCPath 1999).

    He moved to Aberdeen to take up an academic Senior Lecturer post in Health Services Research, obtaining an MSc (2000) and MD (2003) degree in Public Health and Health Services Research. He moved over to NHS Grampian in 2003 as Consultant and Clinical Director of Laboratory Medicine/Pathology. In 2009 he founded and was the first Clinical Lead of the Scottish Clinical Biochemistry Managed Diagnostic Network.

    Over the last 13 years he has filled many roles at RCPath including Chairs of Scottish Council, the Clinical Biochemistry SAC, the Informatics Committee, the National Laboratory Medicine Catalogue and the Quality Assurance Management Group.

    He took up the role of RCPath Vice-President (2011-14) and was a member of Council/Exec for 10 consecutive years, as well as a member of both ACB and IBMS Councils at various times. He is currently the Scottish RCPath chair and is a Trustee of RCPath.

    He has a strong interest in Demand Optimisation and has chaired the Scottish Gov National Demand Optimisation Programme since 2015, with a focus on development of an Atlas of Variation and intelligence data for CoVid recovery in Scotland.

  • Dr Vhairi Bateman

    Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology; Infection Prevention and Control Doctor; Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

    Vhairi graduated from Dundee University in 2003 and completed Infectious Diseases/Medical Microbiology joint training in 2017.  Since then she has worked as a consultant in NHS Grampain working in the Infectious Dieases ward/out-patient clinic, Microbiology lab and Infection Prevention and Control Team.  Vhairi has an interest in antimicrobial stewardship and complex orthopaedic infection and is the chair of the antimicrobial prescribing group and the lead for OPAT having re-established the service in 2022.  

  • Dr Charu Chopra

    Consultant Immunologist, Edinburgh

    Charu is a Consultant Clinical Immunologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. She leads the SE Scotland regional clinical service for patients with Primary Immune Deficiencies and leads the Immunology diagnostic laboratory within NHS Lothian Laboratory Medicine. 

    Charu has an active interest in teaching medical postgraduates and undergraduates, both in medicine and in biomedical sciences programmes at the University of Edinburgh. She co-led the setting up of the Scottish higher medical specialist training programme in Immunology, and is the Training Programme Director (NES) for the programme. She is Associate Postgraduate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in Scotland Deanery, NES.

  • Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak

    Chief Scientist (Health), Scottish Government

    Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak is Chief Scientist (Health) for the Scottish Government and Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Glasgow. She was awarded an OBE for services to medicine and a DBE for services to cardiovascular and medical science. Recognised as a world-leading cardiovascular scientist and clinical academic, her major research interests are in hypertension, cardiovascular genomics, and precision medicine, where she not only publishes extensively in top peer-reviewed journals (over 500 publications), but also excels in large scale research funding for programmes and infrastructure. From 2010 – 2020, Professor Dominiczak was Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow.  She was the driving force behind the fundraising, development, and delivery of the University of Glasgow’s clinical academic campus at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, home to a Clinical Innovation Zone from which she led a triple helix partnership between academia, the NHS and industry to accelerate innovation, maximise patient benefits and stimulate economic growth.  She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the American Heart Association, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, European Society of Cardiology, and the Society of Biology.  From 2013 to 2015, she was President of the European Society of Hypertension.  She is past President of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland.

    Dame Anna is a member of several editorial boards and, from 2012 - 2022, was Editor-in-Chief of Hypertension, journal of the American Heart Association, currently she is Editor-in Chief of Precision Medicine due to launch in 2023.

    In March 2020, Anna successfully led the establishment of Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow to provide rapid Covid–19 diagnostics, and then was asked to become Director of Laboratories at the UK Department of Health and Social Care to lead all 10 Lighthouse Laboratories across the UK, the role she fulfilled till 2022.

  • Professor David Harrison

    iCAIRD Director

    David Harrison is a clinical histopathologist, currently Professor of Pathology in University of St Andrews but previously in Edinburgh and Director of Laboratory Medicine in Lothian NHS. Clinically, his interests are liver, kidney and transplant pathology. In research he has worked on cell responses to injury and more recently application of machine learning/artificial intelligence in histopathology. He is Director of iCAIRD (Industrial Centre for AI Research in Digital Diagnostics), one of five UK centres of excellence funded by Innovate UK and industry. As part of iCAIRD, pathology in NHS GGC has been almost completely digitised and some pilot work on AI implementation conducted. This complements work in Lothian NHS which has supported a number of projects addressing some of the foundational issues in application of AI to the clinical workplace. 

  • Mike McKirdy

    President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

    Mike McKirdy graduated from the Glasgow University Medical School in 1985 and after surgical training in the west of Scotland, London and Manchester, was appointed a consultant general surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley in 1997. Since then he has led and developed breast cancer services in the Clyde area of the West of Scotland. Mike was Scottish Clinical lead for Breast services from 2019 to 2021.

    Mike has served on the Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow since 2005 and while Vice President, from 2013 to 2016, established the College’s Global Health programme, mainly focused on work in Malawi. He was appointed College Director of Global Health in 2016 and in that role he helped publish a report on the value of volunteering for Global Health work, “Global Citizenship in the Scottish Health Service” (2017), which was accepted by Scottish Government that year, and the NHS Scotland Global Citizenship Programme established. In 2018 Mike was appointed to Scottish Government as Professional Adviser on Global Health and as a trustee of THET, the Tropical Health Education Trust.

    Mike takes up office as President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in December 2021.

  • Professor Nicholas L Mills

    British Heart Foundation; University Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh; Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics

    Professor Mills is the British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Edinburgh and a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. His research group aims to use linked healthcare data to develop new approaches for the diagnosis and risk stratification of heart conditions, and to evaluate their impact on clinical outcomes in practice.

    He is the chief investigator of a series of multi-centred cluster randomised trials that use routine electronic health record data to evaluate the impact of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin testing on outcomes in patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome.

    Professor Mills is an Associate Editor at Circulation and Chair of the European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Cardiac Biomarkers. He is the Academic Lead and Senior Responsible Officer for the University of Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Data Driven Innovation Hub. He teaches on the MBChB course and is responsible for the supervision of clinical and basic science PhD students.

  • Professor Mike Osborn

    President, Royal College of Pathologists

    Professor Michael Osborn studied medicine at Guys & St Thomas Hospitals, London qualifying in 1995. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2000 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2004. Currently he works as a consultant histopathologist for North West London Pathology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London where he is clinical lead. His working time is divided between post mortems, diagnostic gastrointestinal histopathology, bowel cancer screening and teaching. He runs an intercalated BSc “Humanities, Philosophy & Law” at Imperial College, London. During the COVID-19 pandemic he and colleagues at Imperial College published work relating to findings in fatal COVID-19 infection. He was elected President of the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) in November 2020 having previously been on the RCPath council and having had a variety of college roles including chair of their Cellular Pathology Speciality Advisory Committee and Death Investigation Committee. He became a Professor of Practice at Imperial College in 2021.

  • Debra Padgett

    Clinical Pathology Service Manager, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; President, Institute of Biomedical Science

    Debra is Clinical Pathology Service Manager at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, current President of the Institute of Biomedical Science and a chartered scientist.

    In her role as IBMS President, Debra is dedicated to the promotion, development and delivery of excellence in all aspects of biomedical science and is committed to providing the highest levels of service to patients and the public.

    Her areas of expertise are Pathology Management, Infection Sciences, Healthcare Science Education, Professional Practice and Quality Management. Debra became IBMS President in 2022 after a career covering 22 years working in clinical NHS laboratories. She is an advocate for continuing professional development and continuous quality improvement. 

    Having spent 5 years as Pathology Quality Manager during the transition to ISO 15189 laboratory accreditation and more recently involvement with the BSI revision of ISO 15189, she is actively involved in shaping the quality agenda for the Institute and Pathology more broadly.

    Her professional activities include Lead Healthcare Scientist for NHCT, Pathology Operational Lead for North East and North Cumbria ICS, committee member for BSI ISO 15189 mirror committee and STEM ambassador.

  • Catherine Ross

    Chief Healthcare Science Officer, Scotland

    Catherine Ross is the Chief Healthcare Science Officer at Scottish Government, Scottish Government’s most senior clinical advisor for Healthcare Science (HCS) professions issues, and head of profession for Healthcare Scientists in Scotland. She provides expert professional advice to Scottish Ministers and Policy Officials and leadership for all aspects of policy which impact on HCS workforce, education, research and practice. She is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction for all HCS professions services in Scotland, and leads on international health issues from a HCS professions perspective.

    Catherine is a Clinical Scientist and has worked in the NHS for over 25 years having spent most of her clinical career specialising in non-invasive cardiac imaging, and is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Biologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

    She has previously held the post of Scientific Lead at NHS England, and prior to that led the Clinical Leadership Portfolio for Healthcare Scientists at the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England.

    Catherine holds a number of senior leadership positions Nationally and Internationally and has served as the President of the Professional Body for Cardiac Scientists (SCST). She is the current Vice-Chair of the Science Council as well as a member of the Science Council Board of Trustees and Chair of the Policy Advisory Committee. She is currently a Board member of the Association of Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions within the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), and is the Chair of the Association’s Membership Committee, Member of the Scientific Programme Committee and Member of the European Society of Cardiology Taskforce on Allied Professionals.

    Catherine’s professional interests include Workforce, Professional Identity and Research, and is an Editorial Board member of the British Journal of Cardiology, and peer reviewer for a number of international scientific journals. She has led and been involved in a number of STEM initiatives aimed at inspiring children, and in particular girls, to pursue a career in science.

  • Professor Sir Gregor Smith

    Chief Medical Officer, Scotland

    Gregor is a GP and former medical director for primary care in NHS Lanarkshire. He began working for Scottish Government as a medical adviser in Primary Care in 2012 as part of the negotiating team for the Scottish GP contract, subsequently leading the development of a new quality framework for General Practice in Scotland. He was appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officer in 2015, interim Chief Medical Officer in April 2020, and Chief Medical Officer in December 2020. He is the principal medical adviser to Scottish ministers and leads on a broad range of professional activity where he is a passionate advocate of person-centred approaches to care and widening participation in medical careers.

    As a keen runner, cyclist and promoter of physical activity, he believes getting outside in the great outdoors can help improve people’s physical, mental and social health. He was bestowed a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in 2022 for services to Public Health and is an Honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow.