December 2010 Mentor of the Month: Catharine Sturgeon
Catharine Sturgeon, PhD, FRCPath, FACB

Catharine Sturgeon is a Consultant Clinical Scientist and Director of the UK National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, where she participates in the endocrine and oncology reporting rotas of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry. As an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, she also contributes to teaching of medical students and is involved in multi-disciplinary research. She is currently involved in a prototype NIHR translational research project which is exploring how best to bring newly identified and well-validated biomarkers into routine clinical practice.

Initially appointed as a Research Fellow in the Department’s Immunoassay Section, she developed a special interest in tumour markers and has worked enthusiastically since to encourage their optimal use. A founder member of the European Group on Tumour Markers (EGTM), one of the earliest groups to consider quality issues particular relevant to these analytes, she is also Vice-Chair of the group developing National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB) Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines for use of tumor markers in the clinic.

Dr Sturgeon has a long-standing interest in improving the quality of immunoassays through external quality assessment, with a number of innovations piloted by UK NEQAS [Edinburgh]. Complementing this work, she has been involved in several standardization projects, including those of the IFCC Working Groups on hCG and growth hormone and the International Society for Oncology and Biomarkers (ISOBM) Antibody Workshops on hCG.

These activities, aimed at improving comparability of clinical results for complex heterogeneous analytes, are facilitated by excellent and much appreciated collaboration with many colleagues. She has been awarded a Medal of Excellence for Scientific Cooperation by the Medical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague, the AACC Morton K Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics and most recently the Foundation Award of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry.

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