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Tour of the Wolfson Laboratories

The NDPH Wolfson Laboratories provide critical and cost-effective support for large-scale observational studies and randomised trials conducted by the CTSU and collaborating research groups. They investigate, and provide guidance for, various aspects of methodology including: sample collection procedures for blood and urine; transportation procedures; stability of biomarkers; cataloguing and temperature controlled storage strategies for large-scale collections; and the development of assay methods that are suitable for high-throughput testing in large study populations without compromising the reliability or quality of the data produced.

The laboratories currently support several automated clinical chemistry and immunoassay platforms. The NDPH Wolfson Laboratories are accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to the ISO 17025:2005 Standard.  NDPH Wolfson Laboratories is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory, No. 2799.  The NDPH Wolfson Laboratories current Schedule of Accreditation is available on the UKAS website at by entering ‘2799’ in the Search Accredited Organisations section. High-throughput plate-array assays, including multiplex assays, are supported using automated liquid handling workstations.

Previous projects

The NDPH Wolfson Laboratories have:

  • In the past 5 years, provided over 2.2 million reliable assays for several large-scale randomised trials (including ASCEND, REVEAL, SEARCH, SHARP and THRIVE) and large-scale observational epidemiological studies (including PROCARDIS, the Whitehall resurvey study, the Prisoner Nutrition Study, the Million Women Study and the EPIC-Oxford study)
  • Undertaken several biomarker stability studies to support new projects and existing studies
  • Catalogued and hold in long-term nitrogen vapour storage over 5.0 million sample cryotubes
  • Delivered considerable support to collaborating groups in the UK and Internationally including:
    • UK Biobank; providing expertise and support for the sample collection, transportation and storage procedures used in establishing this resource
    • Fuwai Hospital, Beijing; providing expertise and support to establish a National Biocentre
    • University of Oxford; providing expertise and support to establish the NIHR-National Biosample Centre

Current and planned projects

A new NMR metabolomics facility is being established in the NDPH Wolfson Laboratories. Initially, this will allow metabolites to be assayed in blood derived samples, including information on lipoprotein particle size and composition, fatty acids and small molecular weight molecules (e.g. amino acids). The laboratories continue to support large scale investigations including, HbA1c testing in 160,000 participants of the Mexico City prospective study.

The NDPH Wolfson laboratories are collaborating with UK Biobank to support temperature/time stability studies to validate the UK Biobank -80C automated storage facility and are providing expertise and support in method validation and assay performance monitoring for a UK Biobank biomarker project assaying 36 biomarkers in all 0.5 million UKBiobank participants.


The NDPH Wolfson Laboratories is funded by government (UK Medical Research Council), charities (British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK) and funds received from the pharmaceutical industry to the University of Oxford supporting randomised trials.

Our team


Medical Research Council

Cancer Research UK

British Heart Foundation

funds received from the pharmaceutical industry to the University of Oxford supporting randomized trials

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