Dr. Balwir Matharoo-Ball



Dr. Balwir Matharoo-Ball


Title of Presentation

A strategy for Partnership Data Management – Moving Beyond the Firewall.


Date and Place

Session C6


Speaker Biography

Dr Balwir (Bal) Matharoo-Ball has a wealth of experience in academic research as well as the NHS. Bal has worked for the Nottingham Health Science Biobank (NHSB) since January 2011 and is currently the Deputy Director. Bal is Chair of the NHSB Access Committee, ethics lead and also a member of the PPI Strategy Board for Nottingham University NHS Trust. Bal is co-applicant on the national virtual Breast Cancer Now Tissue Bank initiative which has secured over £3 million in grant funding. Recently Bal became Chair of the ESBBtranslate and the newly formed Science and Innovation Working Groups.
Prior to this Bal was a Senior Post Doctoral Research Fellow for 12 years both at Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham. After gaining her PhD in 1994 from Keele University Bal became Head of Biomedical Sciences in Oman for 4 years.



The Nottingham Health Science Biobank (NHSB) sits within the UK National Health Service which is a uniquely powerful source of clinical, pathological, imaging and outcome data of enormous value to personalised and translational medicine. Critically this requires flow of information across existing technical and information governance ‘firewalls’ between partner organisations in hospital, academic and commercial sectors. NHSB have worked in partnership with Interactive Software Ltd., the developer of the Achiever NHSB management system, University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals ICT teams to set up a new and fully synchronised informatics system hosted by UoN. The infrastructure implemented to deliver the system includes a load balanced network to 4 web front end servers which in turn connect to a backend Microsoft SQL server, which also contains a mirrored partner in a secondary data centre. All sample/clinical data available in the NUH biobank are automatically pushed via a one-way anonymised link to the UoN server, where they can be accessed externally, browsed and sample/data requests raised. The link uses web services that strip any identifiable data from the feed. The UoN synchronised and NUH systems share a single Achiever configuration which permits external researchers to share the full functionality of the NHSB system for their own tissue management and HTA compliance. This to our knowledge is the first time a Biobank has created a platform for partnership by making its internal directory of biosamples/linked clinical data visible to external PIs/research staff, and sharing the full functionality of its biobank management systems.