Event Recap: Biobanking Conference ‘Improving biobank standards – local and global perspectives’ Sydney 2018

September 4th, 2018 in Conference Feature
contributed by Bharvi Maneck, Senior Research Officer, Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

The one day biobanking conference “Improving biobank standards -local and global perspective” was held on 11th June 2018 at the Kerry Packer Auditorium, Sydney. The event brought together over 180 biobanking professionals from all levels of government, private industry and academic sectors. We were fortunate to secure 14 esteemed national and international speakers who highlighted the Australasian biobanking community’s interest in improving biobanking standards.  A tour of the NSW Health Statewide Biobank, the first and largest facility of its kind in Australia, was also held for delegates and speakers.

It was inspiring to hear Prof Peter Watson from the University of British Columbia speak about improving biobank standards to generate knowledge and “convert patients back to people”. Dr Tony Penna, Director of The NSW Office of Health and Medical Research, highlighted how we can further harness the enormous potential of our biobanking and data resources locally in NSW. Prof Sunil Lakhani from The University of Queensland discussed the national biobanking initiatives by the Australian government. Other highlights of the event included an entertaining and insightful presentation by A/Prof Dan Catchpoole on International Recommendations for Best Practices in Biobanking. A/Prof Elizabeth Salisbury highlighted some of the challenges that pathologists face in biobanking.

We found ourselves in one of the most exciting times in the field of biobanking that’s driving a paradigm shift in health practices and outcomes here in NSW. The meeting was well received, with delegates giving very positive feedback. We are most grateful to Cancer Institute NSW, NSW Health Statewide Biobank, ISBER, AXT, Biotools, Astracore and Kids Cancer Alliance whose support provided free registration for delegates. We would also like to greatly acknowledge Prof Jennifer Byrne and Ms Bharvi Maneck who worked behind the scenes to provide such a successful event!

Below are some of the post event-delegate comments:

 “It really was an outstanding day and line-up – and I would have gladly paid to hear Peter Watson speak!”– Ian Kerridge, Professor of Bioethics, Haematologist & BMT Physician, Royal North Shore Hospital Sydney Australia.

Wonderful idea to make registration free, great attendance. Thanks for organising– Kate Merlin, Senior Scientist, Clinical Trials & Biorepository, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

“I thought the team did a great job organising everything, and all the delegates I spoke to seemed to think it was a great program” Sarah Dower, National Sales Manager, Pathtech PTY LTD.

Speaks included Dr Kerry Chant (Chief Health Officer – NSW Health), Dr. Tony Penna (Executive Director – Office of Health and Medical Research, NSW Health), Prof. Ian Kerridge (Professor of Bioethics and Medicine Sydney Health Ethics, School of Public Health, Haematologist & BMT Physician, Royal North Shore Hospital), Dr. Veronica McCabe (Director, Strategic Research Investment, Cancer Institute NSW), Mr. Simon Cooper (COO – NSW Health Statewide Biobank)

Organizers: Ms Bharvi Maneck (Senior Research Officer, Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead) and Prof Jennifer Byrne (Head Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead)

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