Unit research


About the team

Read about the team and the research conducted. You can also download the unit's list of publications (PDF 197Kb).

  • Martin Shearer PhD, FRCPath

    Martin ShearerAfter gaining a BSc in Biochemistry from Liverpool University, Martin joined the Haematology Department at Guy's Hospital as a research assistant where he was responsible for setting up a new Vitamin K Laboratory.

    After completing a PhD on vitamin K metabolism in 1974 he took up a post as senior biochemist in Guy's. He continued his vitamin K studies, especially directed to diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in early infancy, and oral anticoagulation. A primary focus was to develop sensitive HPLC methodologies to measure K vitamins in tissues and in the early 1980s his laboratory became the first in the world to be able to accurately measure vitamin K in human blood. His research in vitamin K was supported by continuous UK Medical Research Council funding up until 1986.

    In 1994 he transferred to the Centre for Haemostasis and Thrombosis, St Thomas Hospital, where the laboratory expanded becoming a leading centre in the vitamin K field for diagnostics, research, and clinical trial work. Besides his major scientific interest in the role of vitamin K and Gla-proteins, he has other interests in haemostasis, lipid and fat-soluble vitamin metabolism, drug metabolism and nutrition. In the nutritional arena he was instrumental in establishing the UK national database for the vitamin K content of foods.

    Recent funding includes commissions from the Food Standards Agency to study the roles of vitamin K and D in bone health and he is currently co-investigator on an NIH grant with Tuft's University, USA.

    Martin has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, expert reports, and book-chapters and edited a book. Since 1988, Martin has served on several national and international Expert Committees and Working Groups including those convened by the Department of Health, Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN, WHO and UK MHRA. Over his career he has successfully supervised several PhD students and is an honorary senior lecturer of King's College, London.

  • Dominic Harrington - MCQI, MSc, PhD

    Dominic HarringtonDominic has a BSc in Biochemistry and an MSc in Analytical Chemistry. He became state registered as a Clinical Scientist (Biochemistry) with The Health Professions Council in 2000. Dominic has developed methodologies that enabled the determination of vitamin K catabolites in urine. Urinary vitamin K catabolite excretion is a candidate non-invasive marker of total vitamin K status.

  • Agata Sobczyńska – Malefora MSc PhD MRSC

    Agata Sobczynska–MaleforaDr Agata Sobczynska – Malefora is a Principal Clinical Scientist at The Human Nutristasis Unit (Viapath, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London). She joined the unit in 2000.

    Her strong analytical skills, gained during the five year course towards an MSc in Chemistry (University of Wrocław), guided her initially towards improving and developing analytical methods, which included an addition of a methylmalonic acid in plasma test (functional marker of vitamin B12 deficiency) to the unit’s diagnostic repertoire in 2004. Her collaborative work with the Russian Institute of Haematology and Transfusion, St Petersburg, investigating the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia and the MTHFR C677T polymorphism in patients with thrombosis influenced her research interests in the direction of one carbon metabolism which she pursues up to date.

    In 2010 she completed a PhD in Medicine (King’s College of London) investigating hyperhomocysteinemia and B vitamins status in patients receiving oral anticoagulation therapy. Her current research focuses on the diagnostic utility of static and functional markers for vitamin B12 and folate deficiency and the evaluation of the reference intervals for these markers. She believes in reference intervals of two or more dimensions and hopes to contribute to this concept in the future.

    She is particularly interested in one carbon metabolism in relation to cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease and in diseases which affect the absorption of B vitamins. She believes in the acceleration of degenerative diseases of aging as a consequence of a long term suboptimal micronutrient status.

    Agata has supervised a number of undergraduate and postgraduate students. She regularly provides training and teaching to doctors, scientists and staff members. She contributes to the training of undergraduate medical students at Guy’s, King’s & St Thomas’ School of Medicine through a provision of a special study module and also contributes to King’s College through other activities.

    She presents her work nationally and internationally. She has been a Member of The Royal Society of Chemistry and Alzheimer’s Society since 2000, and a Member of The Association for Clinical Biochemistry since 2003. She is a HPCP Registered Clinical Scientist (modality: Biochemistry).

  • David Card - MSc

    David CardDavid has been with the group since summer 2002. He completed a BSc in Biochemistry in 1999 and spent the intervening period working at the Karolinska Hospital in Sweden. He is Manager of of the Vitamin K External Quality Assurance Scheme (KEQAS) and is the Web Editor for the unit. He has successfully introduced assays for vitamins A, E, B6 and D to the laboratory and in 2006 he attained an MSc in Clinical Biochemistry from King's College London. His scientific interests centre on vitamin K metabolism.

  • Kieran Voong MSc

    Kieran VoongKieran joined the group in 2003. He has a BSc in Biomolecular sciences and an MSc in Biomedical Science with Haematology. Kieran is currently working towards his Clinical Scientist state registration with The Health Professions Council.

  • Renata Gorska MSc

    Renata GoskaRenata has worked at the Nutristasis Unit since 2005. She originally studied in Wroclaw, Poland where she attained an MSc in Chemistry. She is currently responsible for the running and development of assays for vitamin K and its analogues. She also has research interests in undercarboxylated prothrombin and warfarin resistance.