Chemical Pathology

Chemical Pathology is the branch of pathology dealing with the biochemical basis of disease and the use of biochemical tests for screening, diagnosis, prognosis and management.

Chemical pathologists have two important clinical roles. The first is liaising with healthcare professionals such as general practitioners, nurses, non-consultant and other consultant doctors to provide advice on which tests to use and how to interpret the results of the tests when investigating patients. This commonly includes a wide range of conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, and hormone imbalances. The second is having direct responsibility for patients in out-patient clinics and on the hospital wards. In these settings, chemical pathologists diagnose and treat a wide range of metabolic disorders such as high cholesterol, diabetes, hormone imbalances, kidney stones, bone disease and nutrition imbalances.

Chemical pathologists are also responsible for the provision of a reliable analytical service. This includes measuring markers of liver and kidney function, hormones, drugs and tumour markers in hundreds to thousands of patient samples every day. Many of these analytes are measured on automated analysers operated by biomedical scientists. The management, assurance of quality and provision of advice on the choice of tests and assessment of the significance of the results (especially with some of the more uncommon tests) are the province of the chemical pathologist.

Chemical Pathology Committee

Dr S Bowles (Chair)
Dr C Meek (Vice Chair, Education rep)

Elected members

Dr IR Bailey (NQAAP)
Prof. R Gama (Best Practice Guidelines Editor)
Dr W Wassif  (National Audit Committee)

Trainee Members’ representative


Council members

Dr J Burton
Prof. T Reynolds
Dr W Simpson
Prof. P Twomey

Useful links

Association for Clinical Biochemistry
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Assay Finder
UK National Institute of Biological Standards and Control
Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Society of Toxicology
American Board of Forensic Toxicology
Cornell University’s Poisonous Plants Database