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University of Exeter Medical School

Professor Timothy J McDonald

Professor Timothy J McDonald

Consultant Biochemist/ Hon. Professor

 +44 (0) 1392 403699

 RILD Building 


University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK


Professor Tim McDonald is the Clinical Director and Consultant Clinical Scientist of the Blood Sciences Laboratories  at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. He holds an NIHR Senior Clinical Lecturer fellowship 

Broad research specialisms

His broad research interest is in the use of laboratory diagnostics to improve treatment outcomes and differential diagnosis. He has  specific interests in diabetes and gastroenterology.


BSc, PgC, MSc, PhD, FRCPath


Research group links

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Research interests

Dr McDonald's research interest involve using biomarkers to identify patients with monogenic forms of diabetes. They have developed clinical predication models to help clinicians identify patients with rare genetic causes of diabetes. The advantage being that these patients can often be treated with tablets, rather than insulin injections.

Assessment of endogenous insulin production is another area of active research. They have investigated the possibility of measuring C-peptide in urine rather than in a blood sample, identifying the clinical utility and optimal storage parameters that enable measurement from a posted urine sample. The measurement of urinary C-peptide/Creatinine ratio (UCPCR) is now provided as a routine NHS pathology test to assess endogenous insulin secretion and is requested by over 100nclinical laboratories in the UK.

In 2012, He was awarded the Department of Health’s Young Healthcare Scientist of the year award for translational research and the ACB professors prize in 2016.

Research projects

  • DIRECT (EU IMI funded project)– identifying biomarkers and clinical variables to identify repid glycaemic deteriation and variable treatment response in type 2 diabetes
  • MASTERMIND (MRC funded)- Stratification of treatment response in type 2 diabetes.


  • NIHR CSO Fellowship 2013-2017 (£250,000)
  • RD&E project grant £9000
  • ACB small project grant £3000

Research grants

  • 2017 NIHR Faculty
    NIHR Senior Clinical Lectureship
  • 2016 Diabetes UK
  • 2016 Helmsley Foundation
  • 2015 Diabetes, UK.
    Equipment Grant: Single tube diagnosis and classification of diabetes, £21,375
  • 2012 National Institute for Health Research
    Integration of multi-disciplinary pathology investigations and clinical characteristics to improve targeted genetic testing for MODY (maturity onset diabetes of the young) NIHR
  • 2012 EU-IMI
    Diabetes REseraCh on patient stratification (DIRECT)
  • 2010 Association of Clinical Biochemists
    Assay Development grant
  • 0 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
    Reference 3-SRA-2014-314-M-R $1.1 million(Co-PI)

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External Engagement and Impact


  • HSJ Acute Service Innovation of the Year 2021: Patient led remote phlebotomy

  • HSJ Value Awards Finalist: Clinical and Medical Services, Cancer Initiative of the Year 2020. 

  • Diabetes UK Lily Clinical Science Poster Award – Diabetes UK Professional conference winner 2018 (Senior Author)Excellence in Improving Outcomes for Patients. NHS Healthcare Science Awards 2019

  • The ACB Professors’ Prize - The Association of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine research contribution prize. FOCUS national conference 2016

  • Diabetes UK Lily Clinical Science Poster Award – Diabetes UK Professional conference winner 2016 (runner up 2014)

  • Innovators in Diabetes (IDIA)- Lilly/ DUK- Best research presentation prize 2016

  • NIHR Research presentation prize- NIHR faculty meeting 2014

  • NIHR CSO Clinical Research Fellow 2013-2017

  • Young Healthcare Scientist of the Year The Department of Health/ Chief Scientific Officers 2012

Diabetes UK Lily Clinical Science Poster Award – Diabetes UK Professional conference 2016

The ACB Professors’ Prize Lecture- The Association of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine research contribution prize. FOCUS national conference 2016

NIHR CSO Clinical Research Fellow 2013 (four years funding)

The Department of Health Young Healthcare Scientist of the Year 2012 (London)

The University of Exeter Impact Award- finalist Student Impact Award 2011 (Exeter)

The Association of Clinical Biochemists regional Young Researcher Award 2010 First prize for best presentation and research paper (Swansea)

Regional NHS audit meeting, 2008 (Weston-Super-mare). Awarded second prize in clinical audit competition

The Association of Clinical Biochemistry regional meeting, 2008 (Gloucester). Awarded first prize Siemens award for best research paper presentation.

Committee/panel activities

Association of Clinical Biochemistry South-West Regional Tutor

Invited lectures

Identifying unusual diabetes! Association of Biochemists Ireland: Dublin 2014

Precision Medicine- getting the diagnosis right. KEM Pune, India 2015.

Association of Clinical Biochemist Professors’ prize lecture, Warick 2016

C-peptide: time to think again? Bristol Diabetes Association. Bristol 213

The analyser will see you now!. Association of Clinical Biochemists. midlands scientific meeting, Birmingham 2013

Systematic approach to correct genetic diagnosis. Diabetes UK, Manchester 2013

Using biomarkers to identify MODY in our clinics. Advances in the Science and Care of Diabetes. Winthrop Hospital Symposium, New York. May 2012

Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). Correct classification with the use of biomarkers. ACB FOCUS national conference. Harrogate 2011

Urine C-peptide creatinine ratio: a new marker of insulin secretion? KEM, Pune, India 201

Diabetes autoantibodies can discriminate MODY from Type 1 diabetes. South West Peninsula Immunology symposium, Dartington Hall. 2010

Getting the diabetes right, Urine C-peptide creatinine ratio. Association of Clinical Biochemists SWW regional scientific meeting, Exeter 2010

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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Sian Louise Grace
  • Rachel Nice
  • Jean Claude Njabou Katte
  • Nick Thomas

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