Title of Presentation
“Biobank Graz: Holistic approach to maintain sample quality”
Date and Place
Karine Sargsyan, M.D., PhD is a native Armenian. Before she came in Graz within the scope of an international cooperation project in January 2005 in the University Hospital for Children and Youth Health, Graz, she led the Metabolism, Nutrition and Medical Dietetics department in the University Paediatric Hospital in Yerevan. Since the establishment of the Biobank at 2007 she is the managing director of this research infrastructure. She is involved in numerous scientific – research and re-training projects which she is partially also developing and coordinating in environment of the Biobank.
Biobanks are strategic efforts of research institutions and may just count numbers of samples (biobanking 1.0) rather than focusing on sample quality, integrity and traceability. This may significantly impact biospecimens regarding collection, processing, storage, tracing and transport. Without the appropriate equipment and procedures, proper monitoring integrity and tracing of samples is not possible. At Biobank Graz a holistic approach is installed focusing on sample quality and integrity: Labels and biunique identifiers. All samples, cohorts, material identifiers, storage systems and consumable types are identified by customized biunique and traceable 2D dot matrix barcodes. Each process step is equipped with automated tools (barcoded LIMS demands, scanners, pipetting robots, automated storage systems) enabling identification and tracking. Also patient identifiers and informed consents are automatically barcoded. Thus, manual handling/labelling is excluded. At the same time, sample labelling includes a human readable code for disaster scenarios. Chain of custody. Every step a sample takes is documented. A detailed chain of custody is automatically generated. Reports provide information of sample “life” and enable tracking of all movements. Temperature history. Each sample is maintained at an optimal temperature not only in storage systems but already on the decks of the pipetting robots. Consistent Documentation. Documentation of the whole sample chain is a specific protection policy and is logged independently via software systems. The records are maintained at different sites on back-upped servers. Our research partners look for monitored samples. Record-keeping and a designated chain of custody in robust processes provide sample integrity and quality.