Contributed by: Lorie Neuberger-Castillo, Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (14 Feb 2019)
Built on the success of the first symposium held in Luxembourg last year, this year’s ISBER’s 2nd Biospecimen Research Symposium was held in Berlin, Germany from February 5-6, 2019, in partnership with the German Biobank Node (GBN).
The 2-day event kicked-off with a biobank site visit at the Central Biomaterial Bank of the Charité (ZeBanC), led by Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel and Dr. Alexandra Stege. A central biobank with storage facilities for over one million samples, the delegates were taken on a tour inside one of the first laboratory buildings in wooden frame construction in Germany.
Following the biobank site visit, the symposium was officially opened after a warm welcome from the Program Committee Chairs Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel & Dr. Cristina Villena, who introduced Dr. Helen Moore to give the keynote presentation on the theme “Putting Biospecimen Best Practices in Action for the Cancer Moonshoot”. After the keynote presentation, thought-provoking sessions on In Vivo and Ex Vivo Preanalytics followed.
The day was rounded off with a poster reception and exhibition tour in the spacious atrium of the Mercure Hotel MOA Berlin. Delegates were treated with sumptuous canapés and refreshments as they perused the selected line-up of posters and networked with peers.
Day 2 of the symposium began with a continuation of the Ex Vivo Preanalytics session and an interesting session on the Microbiome. In the afternoon, Dr. Fay Betsou chaired the debate session on the CEN & ISO Standards on Liquid Biopsies that are being developed under the EU-funded project SPIDIA4P. The session emphasized the importance of standards for pre-analytical workflows applied to personalized medicine. Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and participated actively during the fruitful debate session.
In addition, the Day 2 programme also included five oral abstract presentations which gave five speakers the opportunity to present their work in front of the symposium audience. The event culminated with the Poster Awards Ceremony, won by Mar Iglesias Coma and colleagues for their poster on the “OPTIMARK Project: Search For Quality Markers For Paraffin-Embedded Tissue Samples” – congratulations to the team!
Finally, current ISBER President David Lewandowski closed the event recognizing the key people who made this year’s symposium possible.
All in all, ISBER’s 2nd Biospecimen Research Symposium was a success. There were a lot of very interesting presentations given by experts in the field which emphasized the quality of biomaterials and their requirements for certain types of analyses. It was well-attended by 125 delegates representing 25 countries. The programme, venue and food and were fantastic and the organisers had done an excellent job all round. We look forward very much to the third BSR Symposium!