A picture of Danny Gaskin

Date published: April 18, 2018

Biomedic Danny is only UK student chosen for international award

HIGH-FLYING Danny Gaskin will be a ‘credit to the NHS’ after gaining national recognition from the biomedical sciences profession.

The undergraduate is the nominee of the International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science for its Student Award, 2018 – the only UK student to earn the honour.

Danny says the endorsement came as a bit of a shock with more than 50 universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, having IBMS ‘chapters’.

“It’s a nice feeling to be recognised by the institute and it makes all the hard work worthwhile,” said Danny, who is from Accrington in Lancashire.

The 25-year-old has been on a crest of a wave since enrolling on the BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science course in 2014 under Dr Lucy Smyth, becoming course rep, committee member of both the University of Salford Bioscience Society and the Medicine Society, and president of the IBMS-affiliated Biomedical Science Careers Group.

Dr Smyth, Biomedical Science Programme Leader says Danny’s contribution to student life has been substantial, including taking it upon himself to invite senior biomedical scientists to speak to his peers for their career development.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Danny’s achievements.  He has shown utmost commitment and maturity throughout his studies at Salford, he is a proactive collaborator with his study peers, university staff and the professional body for his Biomedical Science (IBMS).  

“If he shows similar exceptional commitment in his career he will be a credit to the NHS and his chosen profession.”

It’s a remarkable story for a student who stumbled into the health service, accidentally, not having done well at school and with no intention of going to university, let alone becoming a scientist.

“I ended up on a modern apprenticeship in business administration and the job post was as a receptionist in a GP surgery. I was inspired by the junior doctors and student nurses coming through the practice to go ‘back to school’ to study for an access course.

Danny secured a place on adult nursing course at Salford and whilst on placement in the haematology department at Manchester Royal Infirmary, became fascinated with disorders of the blood, particularly blood cancers.

“I found myself doing quite a bit of independent learning around the discipline and it became clear to me that biomedicine was a career more relevant to my interests. I contacted Lucy in 2014 and she offered me a place on the programme through clearing,” he adds.

Danny, who also completed a placement on BSc Biomedical Science, will hear in May whether he has won the IBMS International Award to add to his UK award but says for now, he’s going to focus on his research and on forthcoming exams.

“If I win then great, but if not I’m more than happy to have been endorsed by the institute in the first place, and none of it would have been possible without the help of Dr Smyth.”

Whatever happens, he is hugely employable, having achieved the IBMS certificate of competence on placement in 2017, he is eligible for state registration as a biomedical scientist as soon as he graduates.

“The plan is to continue my career in the NHS and specialise in haematology and transfusion laboratory practice over the next two years.”

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