Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

For latest Covid-19 information click on the link below.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update.

Biomarkers Laboratory

Biomarkers Laboratory

The SRUC Biomarkers Laboratory is a research support lab, part of the Animal & Veterinary Sciences Group. Our expertise supports the unique and diverse requirements of animal and veterinary research.

We focus on:

  • Physiological, biochemical and metabolic measures relating to animal health, behaviour and welfare.
  • Development and validation of species-specific techniques.
  • Application to a wide range of species including sheep, cows, pigs, horses, goats, chickens and turkeys.
  • Training and education – practical laboratory skills, protocol design and development, and project support for undergraduate, MSc and PhD students.


  • ELISA (for example Glucocorticoids, IgG, hormones, neuropeptides)
  • DNA/RNA extraction from a wide range of sample types including blood, tissue, rumen.
  • PCR/qPCR
  • Fluorescent microsphere Immunoassay (FMIA) using BioPlex machine (for example Cytokine Multiplex assay). We specialise in developing novel multiplex panels.
  • Kinetic Enzyme Assays
  • Image analysis
  • List of routine assays that are carried out in the biomarkers laboratory

Recent projects

Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) FP7 – (2011-2015)

This project addressed the development, validation and dissemination of animal-based welfare indicators with an emphasis on pain assessment and recognition.

FareWell Dock (2014-2017)

The aim of this project is to supply necessary information for quantitative risk assessment and stimulate the development towards a non-docking policy in the EU.

Strategic Partnership for Animal Science Excellence (SPASE)

The project supports the animal health and livestock industries by conducting research in areas that reflect the strengths of the Scottish Government's Main Research Providers in Scotland.


Understanding the contribution of cattle behaviour to variations in feed efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions and the welfare consequences of improving environmental sustainability

Peer reviewed publications

  • S.M. Brown, S.J. Bush, K.M. Summers, D.A. Hume A.B. Lawrence Environmentally enriched pigs have transcriptional profiles consistent with neuroprotective effects and reduced microglial activity Behavioural Brain Research, Volume 350, 17 September 2018, Pages 6-15
  • Sandercock, D.A., Coe. J.E., Di Giminiani. P. and Edwards, S.A. (2017) Determination of stable reference genes for RT-qPCR expression data in mechanistic pain studies on pig dorsal root ganglia and spinal cord. Research in Veterinary Science, 114, pp.493-501.
  • S M. Brown, R Peters, A B. Lawrence (2017) Up-regulation of IGF-1 in the frontal cortex of piglets exposed to an environmentally enriched arena. Physiol Behav. 173: 285–292. doi:  10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.02.030
  • S. H. Ison, S. Jarvis, S. A. Hall, C. J. Ashworth, and K. M. D. Rutherford(2018) Periparturient behavior 1 and physiology: further insight into the 2 farrowing process for primiparous and multiparous sows. Frontiers in Veterinary Science Accepted May 2018
  • Labens, R, Daniel, C, Hall, S, Xia, X, Schwarz, T (2018) Effect of intra-articular administration of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) for MRI assessment of the cartilage barrier in a large animal model PLOS one 12 (12)
  • Baxter, E.M., Mulligan, J., Hall, S.A., Donbavand, J.E., Palme, R., Aldujaili, E., Zanella, A.J. & Dwyer, C.M. (2016) Positive and negative gestational handling influences placental traits and mother-offspring behavior in dairy goats, Physiology and Behaviour, Volume 157,129–138
  • Hall, S.A., Stucke, D., Morrone, B., Lebelt, D., Zanella, A.J. (2015) Simultaneous detection and quantification of six equine cytokines in plasma using a fluorescent microsphere immunoassay(FMIA), Methods X, 2, 241–248.
  • Zahoor, I., Mitchell, M.A., Hall, S.A., Beard, P.M., Gous, R.M., de Koning, D.J., Hocking, P.M. (2015) Predicted optimum ambient temperatures to dissipate metabolic heat in broiler chickens do not affect performance or improve breast muscle quality British Journal of Poultry Science Vol. 57, No. 1, 134–141,
  • Hall, S.A., Zanella, A. J. (2015) Development of a multiplex for simultaneous detection of six cytokines in porcine brain and placenta tissues, Methods X, in press.

MSc projects, PhD studentships and Visiting Researchers

We welcome students from other universities to come and work with us for a period of training and sample analysis. There are a number of scholarship awards you can apply to for assistance with travel. We are happy to be contacted about any potential collaboration.

Current PhD Projects

  • The effects of stress on the ruminal microbial environment in beef cattle and its relationship to feed efficiency and methane emissions – Miguel Somarriba Soley
  • Investigating Behavioural and Neural/Cellular Consequences of Tooth Resection in Commercial Piglets: Implications for Welfare – Anna Sinclair
  • Interactions between stress and the microbiome – Rhea Kyriazpouolou

Arianne Lowe

Laboratory Manager

Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 01316517501


Dr Dale Sandercock

Post-Doc Research Scientist

Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 650 6585

Fax: 0131 535 3121


Mark Brims


Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 650 6249


Rate this page

Please provide us with your feedback for this page.

We welcome all comments and suggestions.