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Biobanks as a precondition of research projects

On the 23rd of June 2015, Prof. Dr. Thomas Illig, head of the central Biobank of Hannover Medical School, was as a lecturer on the subject of biobanks guest at the Innsbruck Medical University, as part of the series "MUI Lectures Series" and the "Genetics, Epigenetics & Genomics" seminar. The expert has the "Hannover Unified Biobank" successfully built up together with his team since 2012. Previously, he had operated 15 year at the Helmholtz Center Munich where he had established the Genome Analysis Centre and the biobank.

In the introduction of his illustrative lecture Prof. Illig pointed introductory point to the incredible potential of biobanks for the identification of biomarkers, personalized medicine, and understanding of the pathogenesis of diseases. The use of current and future technologies in these materials opens up new approaches to research in the areas of genetics, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and other omics technologies. "The establishment of biobanks is still one of the key conditions for the application of these technologies," said Illig clear. "of capital importance is, that you're working with high-quality biomaterials and therefore you have to contrive excellentconcepts to meet here the high demands on the analytical material." Thus began at numerous German universities with the construction of biobanks, which in turn are involved in global consortia.


Quality criteria of a biobank

Thomas Illig identified six particularly important criteria for professional biobanks:

 1) of prime importance is the quality of the samples, which defined by continuous documented processes, infrastructure and capacity. A high degree of automation with 1or 2D codes at all steps as well as a continuous temperature monitoring is an important part of this,

2) the IT data quality and data security is characterized by corresponding Biobank Information Management systems and pseudonymization processes,

3) a responsible management of the biobank with control of access and ownership is necessary,

4) a project management, which is responsible for the numerous projects of the participating members, is also imperative,

5) a certification of the biobank processes, and

6) continuous education and training of all involved staff and users of the biobank are two other quality criteria.


Biobank Hannover

Overall, after the short period of existence of the central clinical biobank of MHH there are already  500.000 samples documented in the central database . Moreover HUB stores 280.000 samples of 130 projects in the biobank. The number of samples will increase massively over the next few years. "It is very clear to see that biobanks have become a prerequisite for funding for many donors of research funds. In the perspective infrastructures, like biobanks are equally important prerequisite for successful research as numerous other core facilities on our campus, "said Christine Bandtlow, Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs.


MUI Lecture Series

At lectures under the new "MUI Lecture Series" scientifically excellent lecturers from other universities will be invited. For a lecture in the series the Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Christine Bandltow, be examined by the institutions of the Medical University of Innsbruck can be asked. In granting the request, the Innsbruck Medical University funds the travel expenses of the guest (train 2nd class or flight economy), and an overnight stay in Innsbruck. In addition, a dinner with the speaker and representatives of the host institution MUI is financed.  Up to six lectures in total will be promoted each year. For the MUI Lecture Series can be applied for  two times a year: January 31th and 15th of June.