Dr Zisis Kozlakidis, Past President of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), has been appointed Head of the Laboratory Services and Biobank Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in Lyon, France.
The IARC Biobank is one of the largest, most varied, and richest international collections of samples in the world. It is publicly funded and hosts more than 50 different studies, led or coordinated by IARC scientists. The Biobank contains both population-based collections from research projects focusing on gene–environment interactions (as in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition [EPIC] study) and disease-based collections which focus on biomarkers (as in the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology [INHANCE] Consortium). Study designs include case series, prevalence studies, case–control studies, and cohort studies.
In addition, the IARC Biobank leads the Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet), as an opportunity for biobank institutions in LMICs to work together in a coordinated manner and jointly address the challenges in biobanking infrastructure and the acquisition and maintenance of high-quality samples and data.
Dr Kozlakidis has significant expertise in the field of biobanking. Until recently he served as the President of ISBER, and he has been involved in the activities of BBMRI.uk. His ISBER presidency was instrumental in the closer collaboration between ISBER and BBMRI-ERIC, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations and the planning of many future joint activities. It is expected that this close collaboration will continue now that Dr Kozlakidis has taken up his position with IARC and BCNet, to the benefit of the biobanking field globally.
Dr Kozlakidis is a virologist, with a PhD in microbiology from Imperial College London. He is an elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Royal Academy of Sciences, UK, and a Turnberg Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. Dr Kozlakidis has contributed to seminal studies in the adoption of innovations into routine healthcare, and their associated financial impacts (NHS Innovation, 2014: “The determinants for the adoption of innovation in the NHS”; PHG Foundation, 2015: “Pathogen genomics into practice”; WHO, 2016: “Ensuring innovation in diagnostics for bacterial infection”). He holds an Executive MBA degree from Cass Business School, City University, London, and he is a co-founder of the City Healthcare Innovation Network, a conduit for providing and strengthening contacts between healthcare start-ups and financial institutions based in the financial district of London.