Contributed by Adam Terris, Association Coordinator
The ISBER 2016 Annual Meeting took place in the vibrant city of Berlin, Germany from April 5-8 with delegates coming from across the globe for the conference. In the glorious German sunshine, a whole host of activities took place over the four days in which 571 people attended from a variety of biobanking fields.
There were plenty of pre-conference activities to enjoy, including the National Biobanking Day presented by the German Technology, Methods and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research e.V. (TMF) on Tuesday, April 5. The session, which had presentations from nine speakers focused on the promotion of human biobanks as a valuable tool for scientific medical and epidemiological research in Germany. There were workshops for delegates to join both on the Tuesday as well as on Friday covering a wide array of subjects. Seven Platinum Corporate Partner Workshops also took place on Tuesday evening whilst delegates enjoyed wine and cheese.
The ISBER 2016 Annual Meeting officially kicked off on Wednesday, April 6 with the first of seven symposia, “Acting in Concert: Human and Environmental Biobanks Confront Global Health Challenges” including a keynote speech from Cathy Roth (World Health Organization). In the Exhibit Hall, delegates were able to visit over 50 exhibitor booths as well as enjoy the great abstract poster submissions. For the first time, ISBER also welcomed Biobank Education Tools multimedia presentations to the conference. These presentations showcased innovative and creative ways to engage people with biobanking.
It was an early rise on Thursday for the 64 delegates who took part in the ISBER 2016 5K Run/Walk/Sleep which set off at 6am in the beautiful Tiergarten of Berlin. The race was won by Scott Kerns with an impressive time of 18 minutes and 53 seconds. The race was officially started by this year’s Travel Award Winner, Plebeian B. Medina, who when speaking of the conference said, “The ISBER 2016 Annual Meeting has been a unique experience for me. Members are learning from each other, getting to know people who have similar work interests, sharing experiences, baring selfless generosity while esteeming physical fitness and having fun all at the same time”.
This year’s ISBER Gala Dinner was sold out! The popular event was held at the spectacular Wasserwerk with 183 delegates joining in the fun. The evening included music from a local jazz band, a buffet with a wide choice of German cuisine and not to mention some great dancing from delegates!
Thursday was also a busy day for the scientific program starting with two more symposia. The program included the Innovative Technologies category, which gave delegates the chance to hear about some interesting new products and developments in the industry. On Thursday and Friday, there was also the chance to hear from our abstract presenters in the four contributed paper sessions which included 26 oral presentations.
On the final day of the conference, delegates were treated to two more symposia on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues and Quality Management Systems as well as a Special Topics session on developing challenges to research and collaboration.
ISBER welcomed the new President (2016-2017), Brent Schacter at the ISBER 2016 Annual Business Meeting on Friday, April 8. Recognition was also given to the 2016 ISBER award winners including:
- ISBER Founder’s Award (Sponsored by Chart MVE) – Sandy Wolman
- ISBER Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking (Sponsored by CryoScience by Taylor-Wharton) – Rongxing Gan
- ISBER Distinguished Leadership and Service Award – Cheryl Michels
- ISBER Special Service Awards – Marianna Bledsoe, Piper Mullins and Nicole Sieffert
- Travel Award – Plebeian B. Medina
There were also prizes to be won by delegates at the ISBER Annual Business Meeting. Abstract presenter Hyunja Kwon was the lucky recipient of an Amazon gift card for uploading her e-poster for attendees to view at the conference. Meanwhile, Sofie Bekaert won proficiency testing for her lab, courtesy of the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL) and Rajeev Singh was the prize draw winner from the ISBER 2016 Mobile App, winning a free registration to the ISBER 2017 Annual Meeting in Toronto!
After such a successful conference, ISBER is excited to be gearing up for the 2016 Regional Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, USA on November 7-8 2016 and the 2017 Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 9-12, 2017. We hope to see everyone at the upcoming meetings!
If you’d like to see more about the ISBER 2016 Annual Meeting in Berlin, click here to visit our past meetings website which includes access to the Abstract Book, photos, the program and for the first time, users can see a selection of poster presentations from the conference via our E-Posters page.