Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh


Edinburgh Specialist Virology Centre
Laboratory Medicine
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
Edinburgh EH16 4SA

DX address: 6231202


Enquiries (including results and clinical advice): 0131 242 6048
Fax: 0131 242 6008



Edinburgh Specialist Virology Centre is situated within the Directorate of Laboratory Medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The laboratory complex was completed in 2003 and houses the majority of the clinical laboratory facilities for the Lothian region. Virology benefits from modern laboratories in close proximity to the other disciplines, and in particular from 2 multidisciplinary areas, the molecular diagnostics suite and the automated core laboratory.


Virus Detection: Immunofluorescence is available for urgent detection of PCP, respiratory viruses, HSV and VZV. Rotavirus is detected by dipstick. A limited culture service is offered, including shell-vial culture for CMV and adenoviruses.

Molecular Diagnostics: Real-time PCR is available for respiratory viruses (including M. pneumoniae), HBV, CMV (quantitative), norovirus, HSV, VZV, measles virus (on request) and avian influenza H5. The repertoire is in constant development. Conventional PCR is used for enterovirus RNA and HIV proviral DNA. The latter is part of a NSS-funded specialist service through which HCV genotyping and HIV genotypic resistance testing are also provided. A commercial platform is used for HIV and HCV quantitative PCR.

Automated Core Laboratory: Virology runs an Abbott Architect for high-throughput testing. This encompasses the majority of blood-borne virus screening for local antenatal, GUM, dialysis and transplant services.

Specialist Serology: A combination of automated, semi-automated and manual platforms provide syphilis and H. pylori antibody screens and a comprehensive range of lower-volume antibody tests. Confirmatory blood-borne virus testing including HIV Western Blot and HCV RIBA is offered to SE Scotland through the NSS-funded specialist service. Syphilis confirmatory testing is also available.

Reference, Research and Development: The specialist blood-borne virus service is mentioned above. The department has active R&D links with the University of Edinburgh and the UK CVN. Areas of collaboration include respiratory pathogens, EBV and parechoviruses. Professor Cubie heads the Scottish HPV reference laboratory, which provides reference and surveillance services as well as having an active research team.


The out-of hours service is provided between 17:00 and 09:00 on weekdays and all day at weekends. BMS staff are in the laboratory until 20:00 Mon-Fri and on Saturday (and Sunday during winter) mornings, but outwith these hours must be called in. A member of medical or clinical scientist staff is available for clinical advice by telephone.

Tests offered are as follows:

  • Transplant screen (potential donor)
  • Transplant urgent listing
  • Acute hepatic failure screen
  • Pre-dialysis screen
  • Direct Immunofluorescence (respiratory (PCP – W/E mornings only); vesicular rash)
  • CMV IgG
  • Other tests should be discussed with the clinical person on-call.

Specimens from possible viral haemorrhagic fever or avian influenza H5 may be sent away out of hours.

The service can be accessed via the Royal Infirmary switchboard: 0131 536 1000.


Dr Ingolfur Johannessen

Consultant Medical Virologist / Director of NHS Lothian Laboratory Medicine

Dr John AG Bremner

Consultant Medical Virologist

Dr Sandeep Ramalingam

Consultant Medical Virologist

Dr Kate Templeton

Consultant Clinical Scientist

Dr Jill Shepherd

Clinical Scientist (blood-borne viruses)

Dr Kate Cuschieri

Clinical Scientist (HPV)

Mr Jim Pryde

Lead Biomedical Scientist, automated core laboratory

Mr Tom Shaw

Lead Biomedical Scientist, specialist serology

Ms Julie White

Lead Biomedical Scientist, virus detection

Mr Peter McCulloch

Biomedical Scientist, Molecular Microbiology Lead

Ms Anne-Marie Logue

Microbiology Office Supervisor

Ms Susan Taylor

PA to Clinical Director