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Meet Ben Sholademi – senior clinical scientist at Sheffield Children’s

A man is standing in a hospital garden with orange bricks behind him. He is wearing black glasses.
16 August 2023

Meet Ben – a trained biomedical scientist and senior clinical scientist here at Sheffield Children’s. Ben works in our regional newborn screening laboratory where testing takes place for all babies born in South Yorkshire, parts of the Humber, East Midlands and even Gibraltar!

We are the second largest regional screening centre in the UK covering an area with an annual birth rate of more than 76,000. We test for six rare inherited metabolic disorders including PKU (phenylketonuria) and we also test for other conditions such as cystic fibrosis.

Ben came to work at Sheffield Children’s in 2019 but that wasn’t his first introduction to us as many years ago one of his 14 year old twins had an important operation at Sheffield Children’s. Thankfully all went well, and Ben enjoys spending time with them when he’s not busy working.

Ben describes himself as a “middleman” in the Sheffield newborn screening service as his job involves liaising internally with the clinicians here at Sheffield Children’s and externally with other NHS laboratories and other health professionals such as GPs and designated Consultant Paediatricians in our region (for newborn screening referrals) . Ben also participates in the weekly Duty Biochemist Rota, which involves clinical authorisation of results, advise on test results, requesting further testing if needed, and clinical interpretation of biochemistry results, and lots, lots more!

At the end of September Ben is going to be giving a lecture at the Institute for Biomedical Science conference in Birmingham where he’ll be talking more about the role of regional newborn screening laboratories. Ben isn’t a stranger to lecturing as he also works part-time as a lecturer for the University of Derby, but this is likely to be his biggest audience so far and he’s excited at the prospect of reaching lots of people.

Ben said: “I want people to leave with a better understanding of what we do here at the regional newborn screening laboratory, especially as we are a centre of excellence, and I want them to feel like they are equipped with the knowledge about why what we do is important.

“Laboratory value is consistent with the main goals of a health system which include disease prevention, early detection, establishing an accurate diagnosis, selecting the right treatment, avoiding delays in treatment, facilitating recovery and reducing the need for long term care.

“We use the latest scientific and technological innovations to deliver services in a way that is better targeted, so that babies have the best chance possible.

“Whilst it’s not always easy knowing that parents receive news that they didn’t expect, discovering disorders through testing means that their baby will be looked after and treated so that they can go on to achieve their dreams. When I get home and think ‘I’ve been able to help save a baby today’ that is absolute joy.

“I am passionate about the work we do here at Sheffield Children’s and the role we play as scientists to help provide healthcare to families in South Yorkshire and beyond. I am blessed to work with some very lovely colleagues. I think they would describe me as funny, and also as someone who looks out for other people, as well as someone who looks out for babies!”

Good luck with your lecture, Ben!


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