ABNA's newsletter, Bio-Babble, is published and sent out to current members at the end of each month. Newsletters are made available here 2 months after initial publication. To receive the most recent Bio-Babble directly to your inbox, along with other member benefits, sign up as an ABNA Member.
Bio-Babble: June 2023
Welcome to the June edition of Bio-Babble, in this edition we bring you a feature article on venom banking along with an update on the launch of the ABNA Achievement in Australasian Biobanking Award. We also hope you enjoy our chat with Dr Gareth Bicknell, General Manager of the Human Biomaterials Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, UK.
Bio-Babble: May 2023
Welcome to the May edition of Bio-Babble, this month we bring you a summary of the 2023 ISBER meeting while also introducing you to our 2023 ABNA Keynote speaker – Krishnan Ramanujan, we spend 5 minutes talking to ISBER President Alison Parry-Jones and summarise some key events in the ABNA calendar. As a feature article we’re delighted to bring you an overview of royal genealogy and biobanking which we’re sure you’ll enjoy.
Bio-Babble: April 2023
This edition of Bio-Babble includes updates on key events such as the ABNA Seminar Series and upcoming ISBER meeting, an overview of the recent ISBER awards – congratulations to all the recipients, and a look at the discipline of museum biobanking – both here and abroad. For 5 minutes with a biobanker we were delighted to hear from Professor Frank Grutzner, group leader of the Comparative Genome Biology Group from the University of Adelaide.
Bio-Babble: March 2023
In this edition we feature Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an NCRIS update on Research Infrastructure Specialists and spend 5 minutes with Biobanker Dr Emma Dalziell. We’re also proud to launch the ABNA Achievement Award and provide an overview of our 2023 Seminar Series: Biobank Diversity which commences in under a week.
Bio-Babble: February 2023
In this edition we introduce some of the key events and initiatives that are being delivered to our members this year as well as providing an overview of the upcoming Asia Pacific Forum and ISBER 2023 Annual Meeting. We take a deep dive into cryonics and for our first edition we spend 5 minutes with biobankers Dr Wayne Ng and Dr Birendra Kumar Yadav, ISBERs candidates for IPR Director at Large.
Bio-Babble: December 2022
Our final Biobabble for 2022 which includes Dan Catchpoole in our 5-Minutes with a Biobanker, an overview of the year that was and a biobanking take on some festive favourites.
Bio-Babble: October 2022
The October edition of Biobabble includes a conference wrap-up, a feature article from one of ABNA’s new committee members titled ‘My First In-Person ABNA Conference’ and for 5 minutes with a biobanker we chatted with Debra Leiolani Garcia.
Bio-Babble: September 2022
The September edition of Biobabble features a look at the UK biobank, update on the ABNA 2022 conference app and a spotlight on our sponsors for this year’s annual meeting. We also take 5 minutes to chat with Biobanker Karena Price, the first Australian Biobanker to complete the ISBER Qualification in Biorepository Science.
Bio-Babble: August 2022
The August edition of Biobabble which includes a wrap-up from the third of our Accreditation Seminar Series, a deep dive into biobanking crime scene investigation, conference updates and a number of announcements regarding events facilitated by ISBER, BBIF and NSW Statewide Biobank. We’re also delighted to have Kate Merlin share some insights on her career thus far in our 5 Minutes with a Biobanker session.
Bio-Babble: July 2022
In this edition we bring you a conference update including further details on seminar 4, the debate session and panel sessions, an overview of the newly announced changes to the Swedish Biobank Act, introduction to the co-chairs for the ISBER 2023 Scientific meeting and a feature article on a number of global biobanking efforts dedicated to zoological preservation and ensuring biodiversity. We also hope you enjoy hearing from conference presenter Dr Georgina Hold who features in our ‘5 Minutes with a Biobanker’ article.
Bio-Babble: June 2022
The June Bio-Babble, showcases a feature article on biobanking efforts in the Amazon rainforest, a spotlight on Microbiome banking as well as an accreditation seminar wrap-up and information on the IBBL 2022 program. We’re also delighted to introduce some of our local conference committee members who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the wider conference organising committee in designing an exciting and comprehensive conference program.
Bio-Babble: May 2022
This edition includes information on ABNA’s upcoming 19th Annual Conference in Perth in October 2022, including 5 min with one of the invited speakers Dr Ronny Barber. There is a fascinating feature on Ancient DNA biobanking and information on the recently released National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. There is also a spotlight on the ISBER 2022 Meeting in Atlanta from ABNA member Duncan Villaneuva.
Bio-Babble: April 2022
The April edition of Bio-Babble features an overview of the first of our Seminar Series events and feature articles showcasing QUT’s Fallen Soldiers Research program and DIVSEEK International with their newly established Australasian Regional Hub. We also bring you 5 minutes with Professor Dominic Mallon who is the keynote speaker for our 2022 conference.
Bio-Babble: March 2022
The March edition coincides with the launch of registration for ABNA’s Accreditation Seminar Series, we introduce our speakers from seminar one and provide an introduction to the sessions to follow. We also have a feature article on the Danish National Biobank and a snapshot of the International Biobanking Symposium held in February by the Biobanking India Foundation.
Bio-Babble: February 2022
On behalf of the Bio-Babble sub-committee we’re delighted to share with you our first edition for this year which includes an ISBER update, and introduction some of our new initiatives for 2022 and the first of our monthly biobanker interviews.
Bio-Babble: December 2021
As many of you are aware, the National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Exposure Draft was released last week with comments due by COB 22 December 2021.
Given the implications of the roadmap for future directions in biobanking, ABNA would encourage all of our members to respond to the exposure draft to ensure that a strong biobanking voice is heard.
To facilitate theses responses, we are incredibly fortunate that Professor Jennifer Byrne (Director of Biobanking, NSW Health Pathology) has kindly prepared an annotated document to facilitate ease of response. Accompanying this, she has also prepared suggested talking points to stimulate discussion when composing responses.
Bio-Babble: November 2021
A mosaic of yellow, stunning amber and rich mahogany, a turtle shell is a natural masterpiece and long sought after for furniture and fashion. We’re all familiar with the narrative of ivory and the need to protect elephants from human threats, but many would be surprised to know that many species of turtle including the Hawksbill turtle are now listed as critically endangered due to the tortoiseshell trade. A study this year found humans harvested 9 million Hawksbill turtles over the past 150 years, more than six times previous estimates.
Bio-Babble: October 2021
Thank you to all ABNA 2021 Annual Conference attendees, on-line or in-person at the WA, SA or Qld Hubs and to the2021 Conference Organising Committee for putting together this year's program. We hope you found the sessions informative. We appreciate the time and effort from our invited speakers to present from state hubs or on-line from across Australia, from the US and Japan. Of the eleven invited speakers we are also pleased to be reaching towards gender parity at 6:5 Male:Female. Speakers with a range of specialities gave us an insight into a vast variety of topics ranging from understanding the importance of indigenous genetic empowerment to the role of seed conservation and from frog reproduction to shipwreck sourced yeast strains. We heard from initiatives such asNewcastle1000, ENDIA, Tohuko Medical Megabank, The National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, NATA and the STRICT framework with respect to multi-institutional studies along with an update from our ISBER colleagues.
Bio-Babble: September 2021
‘Collected for unspecified future research’ and ‘legacy collections’ are not unfamiliar terms in biobanking with both holding potential for significant research contributions. In recent years however, the paradigm shift from measuring biobank success by collection size, as opposed to new metrics of measuring success by distribution, raises questions around legacy cohorts and their enduring scientific utility. Given the evolving landscape of scientific exploration, many legacy samples may not be sufficient for modern or indeed future research protocols based on collection method, storage conditions, availability of annotating data, ambiguous labelling or appropriate patient consent… just to name a few.
Bio-Babble: August 2021
ABNA appreciates that the negative impact of the COVID pandemic has limited many of us with respect to conference travel. As such, we’ve decided on a hybrid format to maximise the networking potential of this years conference, while also ensuring participation is possible for all. Each state will host a meeting hub that will be networked into the wider conference. Registrants will have the option to register for virtual participation from home, or your institution, or to attend a hub in person. Each hub will log into the central event to share a combination of both live and online speakers throughout the day. Each hub will provide opportunities for in person engagement, sponsors and be a fully catered event, including a conference dinner which will be arranged on a state by state basis. Abstract submission for rapid fire and poster presentations will again be through the conference website - keep an eye on your inbox for details. Posters will be displayed on the conference website.
Bio-Babble: July 2021
A reminder that ABNA memberships are due for renewal on July 31st. Invoices have been sent out to current members for renewal. All financial ABNA members qualify for reduced registration fees for the annual conference and are eligible to vote during the ABNA Annual General Meeting. Pricing details are available on the ABNA website HERE
Are you advertising to fill a biobanking position? Are you holding a biobanking event our members can attend? If you would like ABNA to circulate your job ad or event details get in touch with us. We aim to not overrun your inbox and will limit these mailouts to once a week - so please get in touch as early as possible on firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio-Babble: June 2021
Every five years, the Australian Government develops a National Research Infrastructure Roadmap to inform its ongoing policy approach to national research infrastructure. Input from the research community and its stakeholders is essential to the development of the Roadmap. The phases of this Roadmap are summarised to the right.
For the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, they have designed a consultation process that will be delivered mostly online. You will have many opportunities to provide your input, starting with the current survey, and progressing to facilitated meetings and online brainstorms. You are not required to share any personal information, and the answers you provide will be kept in confidence. Survey closes Wednesday, 30 June. They are are keen to hear from a diverse range of people across research, academia, industry and government.
Bio-Babble: May 2021
On behalf of the ABNA committee we would like to unveil ABNA’s new and improved online home. While we appreciate that waiting for this unveiling has been a little like 'Waiting for Godot', we hope you’ll agree that the result was well worth the wait. The focus of our new online dwelling is inclusivity and diversity and we’re committed to showcasing and facilitating all walks of the biobanking discipline, however out of respect to our members we also need to ensure that paid members continue to receive benefits not available to all web traffic. As a result, our page comes with a dedicated members area which is password protected. In order to access this area a login is required, which can be created through Currinda by following the links on the page. This is a two-step process and an account for the website cannot be created directly without first creating a Currinda profile. Please see our Join page for further information.
Bio-Babble: April 2021
Biobanking has played a role in infectious disease eradication and vaccine development for centuries. One of the earliest examples demonstrating the importance of sample collection for vaccine development, is Smallpox. The smallpox vaccine, developed by Edward Jenner in 1796, was the first successful vaccine to be developed, however, many would be surprised to know that immunity against this awful disease was achieved centuries earlier.
Bio-Babble: March 2021
On a Wednesday morning like any other, a specialist military team is deployed to recover a satellite that has returned to Earth unexpectedly. At 11am they miss a scheduled check-in with mission control. By midday it’s established that they are dead, along with everyone else in the surrounding town. A new pandemic has reached earth and the rules of the game have changed…
The Andromeda Strain. Interplanetary contamination. Little green men. It makes for a fascinating science fiction thriller, especially in the hands of Michael Crichton. Science Fiction aside, could our increasingly frequent ventures into space lead to an extra-terrestrial contaminant? And what of the biospecimens returned to earth for scientific investigation? Are we as a species prepared to deal with the complexities of extra-terrestrial sample collection and biobanking?
Bio-Babble: February 2021
Welcome to your new look 2021 Bio-Babble; fresh start for a fresh year. 2020 was a challenge to say the least but despite the restrictions, disruptions to sample flow and requirements for many of us to periodically work from home - biobankers persevered. In many cases, biobanks rose to the challenge
and re-directed strategic goals to ensure they were best placed to partner with the scientific community; banking and distributing COVID-19 samples and joining international networks in a show of collaboration.
In 2021 the resilience of the biobanking world will once again be tested as we continue to face challenges posed by the COVID-19 world and an ever evolving funding landscape. Many of us now have renewed business plans, strategic goals and are prepared to move forward with a clear vision of our role within the research community. If the challenges faced through 2020 have demonstrated anything it's that continued support of scientific research is fundamental in modern society, not just in biomedical fields but environmental, chemical, historical and even extra-terrestrial.
Bio-Babble: December 2020
Despite what has been thrown at us in 2020, biobanking and biobankers have continued to maintain activity and, in some instances, pivot to provide support for Covid-19 research. More specifically, we have observed biobanking networks worldwide being utilised for support with biobanks coming together to share resources and information. ABNA has played a small part in this by ensuring our members are kept informed and as your association, continue to encourage interaction to promote biobanking related topics.
Many of ABNA's management committee have at some point been working from home. As we begin to return to our usual routines and wish our members a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2021, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of our 2020 co-workers #coworkersofABNA2020
Bio-Babble: November 2020
Following on from our Annual General Meeting and in preparation for the launch of our new website, ABNA is in the process of reconciling organisational memberships with mailing lists. We recognise that for many, registration for our yearly conference is what instigates membership renewal and that without that impetus many may not have renewed for 2021. Unfortunately, it is a requirement that those who wish to remain on our mailing list retain status as an ABNA member so please be aware that if you have not renewed your membership for 2021, you’ll be removed from all ABNA communications including monthly newsletters, industry updates, conference updates and future employment opportunities.
Bio-Babble: October 2020
As a sign of the times, the ABNA 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) looked a little different to years passed. The AGM was held virtually on 23 October to review the past 12 months of ABNA activity, with the presidents report, delivered by ABNA president Anusha Hettiaratchi, covering key strategic initiatives such as the ABNA/ISBER affiliate agreement, website redesign and revision of the rules of the association.
Bio-Babble: September 2020
The ABNA committee is delighted to be unveiling Phase 1 of the new ABNA website, developed in partnership with ABN-Onc. The launch of our new online home will be the culmination of a long-standing partnership that lies at the heart of ABNA’s history. Members will receive an email notification once the new site goes live.
Bio-Babble: August 2020
ABNA's 2020 AGM will be a virtual meeting held on Friday October 23rd. A meeting invitation and agenda will be emailed to current members next month. Thank you to members who alerted us to an issue with the membership portal, this has now been rectified. For current members renewal rates are available until the end of August.
Bio-Babble: July 2020
The postponement of the 2020 ABNA Annual Conference has meant that this years Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held as a virtual meeting. The Management Committee will be setting the date and an agenda will be circulated, all current ABNA members are encouraged to attend.
Bio-Babble: June 2020
The 2020 ABNA Conference Organising Committee has made the difficult decision to postpone ABNA's 18th Annual Conference. The conference will now run from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd October 2021.
Bio-Babble: May 2020
May is Brain Cancer awareness month and provides an opportunity to unite those working in brain cancer research and raise awareness of this insidious disease within the wider community. In 2010 Robyn Leonard, a tireless advocate of brain cancer research, launched the first Brain Cancer Action Week – supported by the Cancer Council NSW and Cancer Institute NSW. Since then it has grown to become Brain Cancer Awareness month, coinciding with other international awareness raising efforts.
Bio-Babble: April 2020
The current coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the essential role Biobanks play in studies on emerging pathogenic human viruses and other infectious diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by a human coronavirus taxonomically known as SARS-CoV-2; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.
Bio-Babble: March 2020
ABNA Conference Update
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve many of our members will be busy at this time putting into action business continuity plans to ensure that staff can be supported and critical functions continue through a variety of scenarios. There is a lot of uncertainty ahead, however in challenging times we pull through by supporting each other and banding together - with appropriate social distancing in this instance.
Bio-Babble: February 2020
The Australian PlantBank
Although summer fires are common and can have an important regenerative role in some vegetation communities, the extent and severity of this season’s events is unprecedented. Recent fires have impacted billions of plants, animals and fungi across Australia leading many experts to question whether or not the ecosystem can fully recover.
Bio-Babble: January 2020
Qualification in Repository Science
The American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification (ASCP BOC) and ISBER have announced a new Qualification in Repository Science (QBRS) for biobankers. The ASCP BOC is the gold standard in global certification for medical laboratory professionals and has certified more than 560,000 individuals. This new qualification aims to further advance the field of biorepository science.
Bio-Babble: December 2019
A 10 year follow up to a 2009 review of 16 initiatives in biobanking networks and major national biobank programs has recently been published in Biopreservation and Biobanking.
Edited by Daniel Catchpoole the 2019 review follows up with the original 16 initiatives, including ABN-Onc from which ABNA was established. Responses from 12 of these 16 initiatives provides a snapshot of the changing face of biobanking around the world.
Bio-Babble: November 2019
In an important step for moving biobanking forward in Australia, the first National Biobanking Summit, was held on Monday 21st October 2019 at the University of Sydney. The National Biobanking Summit was co-convened by Professor Jennifer Byrne (Director of Biobanking, NSW Health Pathology and Professor of Molecular Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney) and Professor Sunil Lakhani (Executive Director Research; Head, Breast Pathology Group, University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and Pathology Queensland) and organised by a National Biobanking Working Group. It brought together 90 experts at both state and national levels, to begin a national conversation about what we need in Australia.
Bio-Babble: October 2019
On behalf of the 2019 Conference Organising Committee, ABNA hopes all attendees enjoyed The FNQ of Biobanking: Futureproof, Network, Quality. Following a Welcome to Country by Carl and presentation of a spear thrower to the ABNA President, the conference was opened by Prof Jennifer Byrne, Director of Biobanking, NSW Health.
Bio-Babble: September 2019
ABNA/ANRRC shared Network session
Announcing that ABNA's 17th Annual Conference in Cairns will include a live stream with the 2019 Asian Network of Research Resource Centers (ANRRC), Philippines 11th Annual Meeting "BioResource Centers: Infrastructure for Biodiversity Conservation, Biotechnology and Biomedicine", University of the Philippines Los Banos, College, Laguna, Philippines. This shared session will include a Network Keynote presentation from Dr Soo Yong Tan from ANRRC, Luguna, and a presentation by Prof Peter Watson from ABNA, Cairns. The session will conclude with a shared Q&A between both sites.
Bio-Babble: August 2019
ABNA's Annual Conference in Cairns will be hosting two workshops on Wednesday Oct 16th from 12:30pm which will reflect the Futureproof, Network & Quality themes of this years conference.
Bio-Babble: July 2019
Message from ABNA President & Conference Update
As ABNA President I am very proud to announce the 2nd anniversary edition of the ABNA newsletter BioBabble. I would like to thank our BioBabble subcommittee led by Anusha Hettiaratchi and assisted by Georget Reaiche and Cassandra Griffin for their ongoing journalistic endeavours.
The committee would value having our ABNA members/readers submit articles of interest for inclusion in our publication. The ABNA committee will continue to bring information of interest to Australasian Biobankers so please contribute and help us make BioBabble a relevant member driven publication. Let us know about your biobank, an event you are hosting or issues of general interest relating to biobanking.
Bio-Babble: June 2019
ABNA Conference Update
ABNA invites biobankers and researchers to submit abstracts for presentation at our 17th annual meeting 'The FNQ of Biobanking: Futureproof, Network, Quality' in Cairns October 16-18th 2019. Poster presentations will take place on Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18. Opportunities for oral presentations will also be available, with details to follow. Early bird registration to close September 20th.
Bio-Babble: May 2019
ABNA Annual Conference update
Announcing that internationally renowned scientist Dr Fay Betsou will be a keynote speaker at ABNA's Annual Conference The FNQ of Biobanking: Futureproof, Network, Quality. This will be a fantastic opportunity for ABNA members to hear from Dr Betsou who is a leading authority on biospecimen quality assurance schemes and validation of biospecimen QC methods.
Bio-Babble: April 2019
ABNA Annual Conference 2019
ABNA announced that the ABNA's 17th Annual Conference, The FNQ of Biobanking: Futureproof, Network, Quality, will be held in Cairns , Far North Queensland. This year for the first time the conference will be held over three days, from 16th to 18th October, inclusive. Please save the date and keep an eye on the ABNA website for further details.
The theme of this years conference will provide an interesting platform for workshops, presentations and discussions for both new and experienced biobankers. The ABNA Conference Organising Committee looks forwarding to hosting biobankers from around Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
Bio-Babble: September 2018
Shanghai, May 7 - 10 Mark your calendars: On September 10, 2018, ISBER will be accepting submissions for abstracts and workshop proposals. Deadline to submit your workshop proposals and abstracts will be December 3, 2018. Please note that there will be no extension on the abstract submission deadline for the ISBER 2019 Annual Meeting & Exhibits. More information regarding the submission guidelines and where to submit both the workshop proposals and abstract submissions will be available on September 10, 2018, so stay tuned!
Bio-Babble: July 2018
It was announced that ISBER 2019 will be held in our “neighbourhood” in Shanghai, May 7th-10th.
A Little Bit of Light Reading
The ISBER Best Practices 4th ed. has enjoyed a very successful launch with many hundreds of downloads within the first few days; the active translation in Chinese, Japanese and Korean; and plans afoot for translations in French and Persian. The actual document and the translations (once completed) are available free of charge through the ISBER website.
Bio-Babble: December 2017
Another successful ABNA meeting was held in Brisbane in October with the Keynote speaker being Distinguished Professor Judith Clements. The conference theme: Bridging the Gap – From the Clinic to the Biobank.
Topics ranged from “Challenges of establishing and maintaining a psychiatric Biomarker Centre” to “From Biobank to Koalas: Translating Science across species”.
Bio-Babble: July 2017
Welcome to our first edition of Bio-Babble:
ABNA Annual Meeting 2017: October 12th and 13th - This year the committee would like to invite you to join us in Brisbane for another informative meeting to catch up on the latest in Biobanking news and views. Also, an ideal format for collaboration with your peers and our invited speakers. More information will be released shortly on the ABNA website