Tributes to Sunderland scientist who revolutionised medical labs

TRIBUTES PAID: Dr Paul Trinder.
TRIBUTES PAID: Dr Paul Trinder.
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A SCIENTIST who helped revolutionise the work of medical labs across the world has died at the age of 96.

After leaving school, Dr Paul Trinder began his career in science as a trainee in a commercial laboratory, analysing fuels.

He was then called up to the Royal Army Medical Corp, which saw him spend World War Two in labs in India.

When he returned to the North East, he set his sights on fulfilling his dream to lead a biochemistry department by taking a chemistry degree.

He started work at Sunderland hospitals as a technician, rising through the ranks to become one of its top biochemists, and such was his passion for his department, he never left.

As a member of its pathology department, he followed his bosses encouragement to carry research and innovate, with his early work looking at new ways to measure blood and urine, which returned results in minutes rather than hours.

His continuing efforts help speed up, improve the work and expand the department, with his methods applied to a host of tests.

His name was given to an alternative and safer way of carrying out tests in the cases of aspirin overdose, with the Trinder Reaction said to have a widespread impact and became the most cited article in the scientific journal Annals of Clinical Biochemistry.

His work to measure cholesterol meant Wearside patients were among the first in the world to have their levels correctly identified.

His friend Peter Watson said: “A local lad, always happiest among his test tubes, Paul was not one for the conference circuit but would be amused when pathologist colleagues returned from meetings as far away as Moscow complaining that no-one knew where Sunderland was but they had heard of Paul Trinder and were using his methods. Everyone in the department enjoyed his encouragement, their easy access to his encyclopedic knowledge and the adventure of being involved in applying new methods and equipment as part of their own professional development.”

Dr Trinder’s workmates would take calls from luminaries from labs as far flung as the US to check details with him before putting them in their books.

His work was also recognised with the Association of Clinical Biochemistry’s Wellcome Prize for significant contribution to the quality of laboratory practice and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists.

He retired in 1985, when his peers gathered to speak of his impact on their profession as a mark of their respect.

Peter added: “Throughout his long retirement, he maintained his sharp intellect by keeping up with developments and the progress colleagues were continuing to make in his beloved biochemistry.”

Dr Trinder died peacefully at home in Barnes last month, with his funeral held at Sunderland Crematorium.

He was married to the late Joan and was a twin brother of the late Norman.

He leaves children Diane and Paula and was also a greatly loved father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather.