Jan-Eric Litton



Prof. Jan-Eric Litton


Title of Presentation

“Challenges in irreproducible medical research – What can BBMRI-ERIC do to help?”


Date and Place

Session: Plenary P1


Speaker Biography

Jan-Eric Litton is Pro- fessor of Biomedical Computing Technology at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. He was appointed BBMRI-ERIC’s first Director General on 22 January 2014. Litton acts as the chief executive officer and legal representative of BBMRI-ERIC and is responsible to the Assembly of Members. Litton was Executive Director and head of one of the largest medical infrastructure in Sweden – BBMRI.se (The Biobanking and Molecular Resource Infrastructure of Sweden). He also coordinated the Nordic BBMRI (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Island, Faroe Island and Estonia). Litton is renowned for his expertise in biobanking and leadership in large-scale projects. He is also heading the development of e-epidemiology by using Internet, cell-phones, digital paper and digital TV for collecting epidemiology data. Litton is involved in 8 large EU projects in medicine, including the: BiobankCloud – Scalable, Secure Storage of Biobank Data. He was one of the driving forces in the FP5 project GenomEUtwin, where an infrastructure was built to link information between the 600 000 twins in seven European Countries and Australia between 2002–2007. He led an infrastructure group in the “EU Coordination Action; Harmonising population-based biobanks and cohort studies to strengthen the foundation of European biomedical science in the post-genome era” 2006, and has been involved in P3G since 2004, he led IWG2 (Information Curation and Information Technology) in P3G during 2004–2008. He was the co-director for the Swedish LifeGene initiative, a prospective cohort based biobank with the aim of 500,000 participants until 2010. Since 2012, Litton is part of the e-science initiative in Sweden with a yearly budget from the Swedish government. Jan-Eric Litton has also made major contributions to the current knowledge in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and was one of the first researchers showing receptor binding with PET technique. He did his post doc at The Research Medicine Department of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Donner Laboratory of the University of California, USA, 1986–1987. Litton has been giving more than 32.



One of the fundamental principles of science is reproducibility – the idea that a discovery is valid only if many scientists in any lab can conduct the same experiment under the same conditions and obtain the same results. BBMRI-ERIC are developing and piloting a range of solutions to help increase reproducibility in medical research. Improve reproducibility is a priority for BBMRI-ERIC.

BBMRI-ERIC was founded in December 2013. BBMRI-ERIC is implementing services for the benefit of to date 18 Member States and 1 International Organisation (IARC) which, being the largest Research Infrastructure for health in Europe.

As the first Common Service (CS) of BBMRI-ERIC, the CS ELSI started and has been instrumental to write a Position Paper on the General Data Protection Regulation and helped to translate complex issues into a lay language for the scientists, general public and policy makers alike.

BBMRI-ERIC CS IT lead to the release of the Directory 2.0 encompassing 60 millions biobank samples from our member states.

Quality above quantity is a key word for BBMRI-ERIC Service. In this respect, BBMRI-ERIC actively contributes to the process of international standard development as Observer Liaison of ISO/TC 276 Biotechnology as well as of ISO/TC 212 Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems. To date, 77 technical experts and researchers at universities, biobanks and laboratory infrastructures are contributing to this unprecedented pan-European joint harmonization effort. This work will have a direct impact on research and healthcare to reproduce data and help sustain biobanks and improve Health in Europe.