Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology

The Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology department includes Histology, the Molecular Cell Biology Unit and Cytology. Our service is consultant-led with approximately 70 medical, scientific and support staff.


The Histology service analyses samples to help diagnose, predict and screen, including:

  • Surgical
  • Frozen sections including Mohs
  • Post mortem tissue specimens
  • Special stains
  • Electron microscopy, in conjunction with the University of Plymouth
  • Screening service as part of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes (Bowel and Breast).

Molecular & Cell Biology Unit

The molecular and cell biology unit provides specialist testing in the following areas:

  • Routine immunohistochemistry
  • Direct immunofluorescence
  • HER2 testing for the Far South West Peninsula
  • Molecular techniques such as in-situ hybridisation (CISH, DDISH and FISH)
  • One Step Nucleic Acid amplification (OSNA)
  • EGFR molecular testing
  • Support for Research, Development and Innovation including clinical trials


Cytopathology provides a diagnostic cytology service (non-gynaecological) only as all NHS Cervical Screening programme samples are referred to Exeter Cytology Department.

Cervical Cytology

Cervical Cytology provides cervical screening service for the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Liquid based Cytopathology is used in conjunction with Microbiology to provide HPV testing for patients from Cornwall and Plymouth.

Diagnostic Cytology

Diagnostic Cytology provides:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) for head, neck and breast
  • Liquid Based Cytology (LBC) for bronchial, oesophageal and common bile duct samples
  • Body fluid and aspirate cytology
  • EUS/EBUS (Endoscopic and endobronchial ultrasound) FNA service. Adequacy of the sample is assessed within the clinical setting. Samples include; Mediastinal lymph node FNA’s (transbronchial  (EBUS) and transesophageal (EUS)) and Pancreatic FNA’s

Key Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology Contacts

Head of Department
Pathology Specialty Director

Dr James Garvican (Consultant Histopathologist)
01872 252655

Head Biomedical Scientist for Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology

Stephen Davison
01872 252798

Lead Biomedical Scientist

Valerie Rodd
01872 25 2549


Histology Office Manager

Natalie Blewett
01872 252550

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