MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory

Volunteer Facilities


Within the volunteer suite we use equipment that allows us to study four main specialist areas. This allows us to perform a variety of measures in conjunction with dietary intervention studies.

  • Vascular Studies Platform
  • Bone and Body Imaging
  • Metabolic Measures
  • Experimental Medicine Resources (Trials, Experimental and Population Studies)

Within these four main areas of specialism, the Volunteer Studies and Clinical Services is designed to provide a purpose-built set of clinical study rooms for measurements to be performed by study teams. The volunteer suite also offers a well-equipped kitchen for food preparation, and comfortable lounge facilities for volunteers. Within the Volunteers Suite we are able to perform measures that look at both vascular function such as cIMT and FMD and to look at bone density using iDXA and pQCT scanners. The Team also provides and manages clinical services including the provision of medical procedures such as blood or tissue sampling and intravenous glucose tolerance tests.

Some research projects and national surveys involve field work with research participants in the community. MRC EWL has a purpose-built mobile research unit. This is designed to provide a safe and comfortable space for research / survey procedures, including anthropometric measurements and blood sampling, and are equipped to provide sample processing facilities and cold/freezer storage. The units are staffed by trained research assistants/drivers and/or nurses/phlebotomists, depending on the requirements of the study and are used where participants are unable or unwilling to travel to MRC EWL or other study research clinics, particularly for studies where rapid blood processing is required. Most recently the units have been used on the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children and a study investigating Vitamin D Expenditure in Older People.