Andrea Hanvey

about to do a live chat with a toddler climbing on me argh!

Favourite Thing: Teach! As training officer it’s my job to facilitate and provide training in the laboratory



William Brooke’s School and Sixth Form 1996-2002, Manchester Metropolitan university 2002-2006, University of Ulster 2008-2009


10 GCSEs, 4 A levels, BSc in Applied Biomedical Science, MSc in Applied Biomedical Science

Work History:

Christie Hospital 2004-2006 Hereford Counry Hospital 2006- present

Current Job:

Senior Biomedical Scientist in Histopathology


Wye Valley NHS Trust

Me and my work

The Histopathology laboratory looks at cells from tissues and organs to diagnose diseases including cancer

My laboratory receives tissue specimens from patients, removed during an operation, a simple procedure at the GP, or from a post-mortem. The samples are sent to the laboratory in a chemical called a fixing agent, such as formaldehyde.  
Specimens are dissected by Biomedical Scientists or consultant Histopathologists. They are then processed with a number of chemicals. This makes the tissue hard so they can be placed into paraffin wax blocks.

Thin slices are then cut and stained with dyes so they can be looked at under the microscope. Further staining techniques may be requested by the doctors to identify specific cancers, bacteria, proteins etc.


My Typical Day

I am either in my office sorting training paperwork and policies or doing anything and everything in the lab.

I start at 8am and finish at 4.30pm , I usually put slides with tissue sections on, onto an automated staining machine for immunohistochemical staining. This staining uses antibodies to identify different tumour cells and types. This helps the oncologists (cancer doctors) decide the treatments for the patients.

As a senior scientist i spend alot of the day doing specialist staining techniques, and checking the tissue sections that have been cut and stained under the microscope.


In the afternoons i spend around two hours dissecting specimens for processing. Specimens ranging from biopsies to large pieces of skins. I also prepare specimens for the consultants dissection, slicing them open and painting them.


What I'd do with the money

I would buy a local school some science equipment.

when I was at school i used to love the lessons when you did something different, usually watch a science video (yes video) on a giant TV (and im not talking about the screen size when i say giant) so im thinking science DVDs or Apps something to communicate science in an interactive way

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Noisy Bossy Organised

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Counting crows, blur, green day, beyonce, Ed sheeran…the list is endless I love all sorts of music!!

What's your favourite food?

Er that’s a difficult one…at this time of year a cream egg!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Helicopter flight through the Grand Canyon in America

What did you want to be after you left school?

A scientist for the Environment Agency

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

I got detention once for forgetting my reading book does that count?

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Would have to be seeing a range of body parts being dissected from eyes to kidneys

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Ms Lacey my science teacher from school and sixth form

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Choreographer I love dancing!

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I wish I had loads of money, more time and that my husband makes a full recovery from his cancer

Tell us a joke.

What cheese should you use to hide a horse? …..Mascarpone

Other stuff

Work photos:


My desk!


This is a microtome that we cut the tissue sections on.


The dissection room.


The main laboratory.


This is the automated immunostaining machine.


The finished product, this is a magnified stained tissue section of a breast tumour.