Biobanking at USZ

Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

The USZ is building a centralized biobank infracture primarily for liquid samples together with standardized processed regarding sample collection, processing, storage and distribution. Dr. med. Michael Weisskopf, Head Research Biobanking Service Center, and Silvan Huber, Application Manager ICT, presented over a joint “Brown Bag” lunch to the Krauthammer Lab and the USZ Research Data Service Center.

The USZ has multiple individual sample collections across its institutions. For tissues (particularly cancer tissue samples), the Institute of Pathology’s Centralized Tissue Biobank is well established and has been archiving samples since the 1990s. However, these resources are made more powerful to researchers when they are linked and made interoperable – a goal that is in line with the SPHN and SBP initiatives. The new centralized system outlined in the presentation will provide an shared infrastructure for all liquid biobanks across the hospital. In addition, the Biobank Information Management System (BIMS) will connect with the USZ Data Lake as the central source of truth for data about the samples.

Biobanks are an invaluable resource for medical informatics research. Seeing the logistics involved with sample collection, transportation, storage, and record keeping gave us a new sense of appreciation for the effort that go into building these resources. As consumers of biobanks ourselves, we are excited to learn about how our home institution is making progress in this area.

Laura Kinkead
Senior Research Software Engineer

Building software tools for Data Science.