• hello@europebiobankweek.eu
  • Vienna, Austria
Session Descriptions

Session Descriptions

Help shape the scientific programme of Europe Biobank Week 2024 by submitting an abstract for one of the following tracks and topics:

Track One: One Health & Precision Medicine

Role of biobanks in the future of healthcare research: Biobanks provide essential infrastructures for different types of health research. The aim of this session is to present how healthcare integrated biobanking can be a key factor in accelerating progress towards personalised medicine. This topic will be approached from different angles, taking into account the heterogeneous situations in different countries.

Success stories – Biobanks fostering medical progress: Biobanks support biomedical research on a daily basis and contribute to the development of new therapies. Examples of successful research projects from the last 1-2 years that have been carried out with the help of biospecimens and associated data from biobanks are presented here. Criteria for the success stories: Did the project improve or even lead to new diagnostic or therapeutic procedures? How did the projects contribute to better health care?

Artificial intelligence in Precision Medicine: In precision medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used extensively to design and improve diagnostic pathways, therapeutic interventions and prognosis. This has led to a rational achievement in the discovery of biomarkers that can be used for patient stratification based on likely disease risk, prognosis and/or response to treatment. This session aims to present state-of-the-art approaches where biospecimens and associated have supported AI research.

Public Health Emergencies – Growing importance in the One Health concept: The last pandemic showed us that the One Health concept has a direct link to public health emergencies. Samples and data from non-human biobanks offer a wide range of opportunities, from supporting research in the transdisciplinary area of One Health to the conservation of endangered species via the more innovative approach to veterinary medicine. The latter includes both experimental animal models for translational purposes and spontaneous models of diseases that affect domestic animals and humans in very similar ways. This session welcomes presentations illustrating how non-human biobanks can contribute to One Health and the conservation of ecosystems.

Epidemiological biobanking – cohorts as a shop window for populations: Large epidemiological biobanks are able to support studies on disease incidence and prevalence, their natural history and risk factors, particularly when biobanks are enriched with extensive sample characterisation (e.g., genomic variants associated with common diseases). The aim of the session is to show how epidemiological biobanks allow specific populations to be studied through cohorts.

Bioinformatics, -omics and big data: Innovative biobanks typically aggregate genetic information with a range of other data on the same individuals. Those omics data is also linked to clinical data, for example imaging data from diagnostics and pathology. This session gives best practices examples and points out how to tackle these big data sets with the help of bio-informatic approaches.

Track Two: Quality & innovative methods

Pre-analytic impact on sample quality – means & measures: The aim of the session is to focus on the problem of reproducibility by examining where in modern biobanking variability occurs and how we can diminish these issues in the future in order to drive the quality of the biobank samples moving forward and to be ready for the demand of high-quality samples for all novel technologies.

The road towards ISO 20387 accreditation: The emerging new ISO standards for the pre-analytical handling of samples in biobanking give hope that sample quality can be much better maintained and documented. This session will cover an overview from where we started and where we are with ISO20387. Challenges as well as success stories will be discussed.

Tools to achieve quality – (new) standards for biobanks: Implementation of the newly published CEN technical specifications and the new ISO standards on biobanks, which describe requirements of standardization and documentation, is a crucial step toward better reproducibility of results. In this session we will discuss the opportunities of these standards and the hurdles to overcome when implementing these standards. We also highlight implementation programs or projects as examples of how to put these standards into practice.

Modelling and regenerative medicine – artificial cellular models: This session focuses on cell-based in vitro assays and models that are important for the investigation and understanding of specific biological events and processes under different conditions. Advances in this field such as 3D cell biology and engineering and the development of a new generation of cell culture formats as well as the limitations and challenges within this field will be discussed.

Microbiome – the known unknown: This session will expand our view on microbiome related studies and how great care is required to carry out work on the microbiome. Best practices and challenges related to collection, processing and storage of several sample types and sites and the impact on sample quality will be addressed to help those wrestling with the same issues.

Getting more from less – liquid biopsies, biopsies and fine needle aspirates for molecular techniques: Advances in molecular profiling have revolutionized the field of molecular pathology and/or clinical laboratory medicine allowing for more data generation from so little sample input. This session focuses on certain sample types that are less invasive and more accessible and how the power of these samples is enhanced with these molecular techniques due to increased sensitivity.

Track Three: More than high quality samples and data – stakeholders in the spotlight

Ethics Café: The Ethics Café is an established value of the Europe Biobank Week conferences, where all stakeholders come together in an informal setting to voice their thoughts on the role that ethics frameworks play in the context of biomedical innovation. Grab your coffee and join us for a interactive discussion.

“Be aware of biobanking” – outreach and communication in and for biobanks: Biobanking has developed from basic biological sample storage to sophisticated and dynamic entities that offer not only data and samples, but also a wide range of services for facilitating biomedical research. The multitude of opportunities offered by the biobanks is however not sufficiently recognized by the community, leading to relatively low utilisation rates of biobanks and their services. One way to boost these utilisation rates is improving the communication of biobanks. In this session, we will showcase communication strategies to improve the communication of your biobank with the general public, patients, (academic and commercial) researchers, funding agencies and more.

Partnerships towards real world data – opportunities, needs and hurdles: The volume and variety of real-world data being generated in the biomedical field has continued to expand. As the availability of real world data sources and new platforms increases, there is an even greater urgency to develop, nurture, and maintain strong partnerships to support the collection and use of these types of data for making healthcare decisions. Only by setting up sustainable collaborations it is possible to solve the major medical and public health issues that we are currently facing. In this session, we will focus on the potential and obstacles of partnerships with academia, industry and other research infrastructures.

ELSI topics in biobanking – friend or foe: Biobanking is not possible without taking into account all ethical, social and legal issues that unconditionally linked to the biobank activities. In this session, we will present the current state of the art and available services in the ELSI field, but also discuss the double-edged sword of implementing the new ELSI standards/best practices and the hurdles that go along with it.

Information security and data privacy: Along with technical issues, biobanking frequently raises important privacy and security issues that must be tackled as biobanks continue to grow in scale and scope. The GDPR, information security, and other regulatory frameworks have considerable impact on biobanking and projects like the EHDS. Within this session we try to address those issues from different perspectives.

Training and education for quality improvement and knowledge generation: High quality biobanks need high quality staff that has received adequate education. During this session, we will inform the biobank community about existing education and training opportunities for the different levels of biobanking staff, ranging from biobank/project managers to technical personnel responsible for handling the samples and/or managing the data in the biobank.

Green biobanking and sustainability: Sustainability of biobanks is a hot topic and has already been heavily discussed over the last few years. At recent EBWs, sustainability sessions focused mainly on the development of business plans to assure the financial sustainability of your biobank. With the high energy costs and climate concerns that we are currently facing, a new dimension has been added to the sustainability topic. In this topic we would like to showcase examples of how green biobanking could be an answer to these challenges.

Track Four: Insights into Healthcare: Patient Engagement, Rare Diseases, and Organisational Profiles

Ethics – patient advocates (interactive session): This session will examine how patients’ perspectives are valuable to researchers as they help ensure that the research questions are relevant to patient and public benefit, that studies recruit to time and target, that results are promoted and shared, and that patients of the future are encouraged and supported to participate in research where possible, including donating samples and data.

Non-human biobanks (poster session): Dive into the world of non-human biobanks, where we’ll explore the diverse landscape of biological repositories dedicated to non-human specimens. From wildlife conservation to agricultural research, non-human biobanks play a vital role in preserving genetic diversity and advancing scientific understanding across disciplines. In this session, we’ll explore the unique challenges and opportunities associated with organising non-human biobanks, including specimen collection, storage and data management. Join us to discover how non-human biobanks contribute to biodiversity conservation, disease research and agricultural innovation. Whether you’re a biologist, conservationist or policymaker, this session will provide valuable perspectives on harnessing the potential of non-human biobanks to address pressing environmental and scientific challenges.

Organisational profiles: Join us for an insightful discussion on the organisation of biobank networks and infrastructures. Biobank networks play a critical role in advancing biomedical research by facilitating the sharing of biological samples and associated data. This session will explore the intricacies of establishing and maintaining efficient organisational structures within biobank networks.  We will explore several topics, including governance frameworks, operational models, and collaboration strategies used to optimise the functioning of biobank networks. Through case studies and expert insights, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with managing biobank infrastructures.

Rare diseases: Join us for an insightful session on biobanking tailored specifically to rare diseases. Rare diseases pose unique challenges in research and healthcare, often due to limited sample availability and the diverse nature of these conditions. In this session, we will delve into the intricacies of biobanking and its pivotal role in accelerating rare disease research.

Pitch your innovative idea: Pitch your innovative idea in 3 minutes. These could be cutting-edge ideas, products, or solutions that could impact samples, biobankers, researchers and patients, and eventually add to a healthier world. The floor is open to all stakeholders, from biobankers to vendors, from researchers to patients.