A world leading interdisciplinary research institute that will be open and inclusive, capitalising on the UK’s unique research strengths and data assets.


Structure and Leadership

Established in 2019, the Sir James Mackenzie Institute for Early Diagnosis is an interdisciplinary research collaboration, capitalising on internationally respected basic and applied research in a range of disciplines.   It offers an inspiring and supportive environment committed to fostering ideas, sharing of knowledge and skills around earlier diagnosis of human disease.

The organisational structure of the Mackenzie Institute draws from existing expertise in early diagnosis that is distributed across disciplines, including Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geography & Sustainable Development, Mathematics & Statistics, Medicine and Physics & Astronomy.  The Institute has three research platforms each with its own management structure:

Health Data Research  

This platform is led by Colin McCowan a Professor of Health Data Science in the School of Medicine, other schools that collaborate in this platform include; Computer Science, Geography, and Mathematics and Statistics.

Digital Diagnostics and Emerging Technologies

This platform is led by Dr Andrew Blaikie.

Biophotonics in Early Diagnosis

Led by Professor Kishan Dholakia from the School of Physics and Astronomy, current projects in this platform involves collaborations with; the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Medicine.

Key features

Based in St Andrews, major strengths of our partnership include being:

  • International involving England, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Canada, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
  • Patient-centered: involving members of the wider population as co-applicants and in all aspects of the work, who will represent the interests of our wider Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Group comprising of 20 people with a range of health conditions and family members, including males/females, parents of young children, adolescents, adults, older people, in a wide range of geographical locations.
  • Multi-disciplinary: involving qualitative and quantitative researchers specialising in, among other areas, behavioural sciences, physiology, health services research, clinical trials, health economics, implementation research and dissemination.
  • NHS-focused: developed in conjunction Scottish, UK and local NHS providers; these relationships will be leveraged to inform, shape and support the implementation of research we undertake.
  • Institutionally supported: with substantial institutional buy-in from our University, NHS partners, and government and commercial bodies.


Aims and objectives


To re-establish an internationally leading centre of excellence in the early diagnosis of human disease

To offer a vibrant research environment where scientists, clinicians and students can collaborate to advance earlier diagnosis of human disease


To develop, test and implement research programmes which have the capacity to achieve substantial improvements to early diagnosis in four clinical areas of Infection, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Mental Health. Three important cross-cutting platform areas have been identified that have the capacity to achieve substantial improvements to these clinical areas. The research platforms are:

  • Health Data Research
  • Digital Diagnostics and Emerging Technologies
  • Biophotonics

Each of these research platforms is comprised of world-leading researchers across different schools.


Contact us

Sir James Mackenzie Institute for Early Diagnosis

University of St Andrews


E: mackenzieinstitute@st-andrews.ac.uk