The Department was officially established in 1924, with operations commencing fully in 1925, and was a joint venture between the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and The University of Manchester School of Medicine but based at the MRI. A joint University-Infirmary Committee headed by the vice-chancellor oversaw the running of the Department. In addition there was a technical sub-committee chaired by Professor Henry Stanley Raper (1882-1951), who at the time was Professor of Physiology at the University. The work of the Department was eventually wound up in 1946.
Walter Morrell Roberts (1890-1978) was the Department's first Director appointed in 1925 but resigned his post in October 1928 to take up a new appointment at Sheffield Royal Infirmary. Like Wilkinson, Roberts was also a chemistry graduate of the University of Manchester and subsequently entered the Manchester Medical School in 1919, graduated in 1924, and in 1925 was awarded the MD with Gold Medal. His research focused on digestive problems, and he returned to Manchester in 1932 and remained in the area for the rest of his professional career. Miss Stephen took temporary charge of the laboratory until Wilkinson was appointed Director in February 1929.
Some of the main research staff during the laboratory's operation were Martin C.G. Israëls (1906-1979), Eirwyn Norman Rowlands, Mrs Oliver (possibly Martha Florence Oliver), Edgar Samuel Frischmann [changed to Freshman] (1899-1988), Frederick Horace Smirk (1902-1991), Miss McLean, Hilda Margaret Linford (d. 1980), Miss F.V. Stephen, Mr Kitson, Alexander Robert Somerford, Mr H.E. Martin, William Brockbank (1900-1984), Reginald Ellis (1898-1970), John Crighton Bramwell (1889-1976), Bernard Royal Bramwell (d.1961), Norah Regan, Louis Klein, Margaret Egan (1902-1990), Agnes Mary Bodoano, Fenton Braithwaite (1908-1985), Sylvia Kema Guthrie (1897-1989), Frank Fletcher, Cyril G. Eastwood, Arthur Philip Lewis Blakely, David Robertson Goodfellow (1906-1982), Ernest Greaves, Alec Lomax Kenyon, Miss May Johnson, Miss V.K. Wilson, John Scully (b. c.1905), Walter Deutsch [later Walter Max Dale], Hugh Richard Donald, Mr H. Jackson, Charles Amos Ashford, Benjamin Portnoy (b.1914), J.N.M. Chalmers, S.G. Abelson, James Edward Kench, Tudor Stanley George Jones, Francis Xavier Aylward, Brian Rhoderick Sutton Mainwaring, Dr Goldman, G. Kohn, P.B. Woolley, and Fred Stratton (1913-2001). This list is not exhaustive.