Worldwide students to learn biobanking in Luxembourg

On June 12, an international group of 16 students from Africa, Asia and Europe found their way back to school. Over the next three weeks, they will attend an intensive course on biobanking taught by an experienced team of lecturers from IBBL and other institutions at the University of Luxembourg.

In collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, IBBL is running the 5th session of its Principles of Biobanking seminar, endorsed by ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories). As a unique course that combines the environmental and clinical principles of biobanking, it is no surprise that it attracted students from different countries and backgrounds. The course is for them the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of all the aspects of biobanking, but also to exchange knowledge and skills across fields as diverse as tumour banks, seed banks and gorilla biobanks.

In just three weeks, people working in biobanks or starting in the field will gain experience in the multiple disciplines of biobanking, ranging from cryobiology, quality assurance and biospecimen science to logistical, regulatory and ethical issues. There is a lot of theory covering all these aspects. That’s why it is important to diversify the educational methods. The comprehensive curriculum includes site visits, practical demonstrations, hands-on exercises and tutorial-based discussion sessions.

“Through this biobanking course, we hope to facilitate the activities of existing biobanks and assist in the creation of new ones. This course is a good incentive to trigger collaboration between biobanks worldwide, comments Dr Fay Betsou, Chief Scientific Officer at IBBL and coordinator of the course. I would particularly like to thank Agilent Technologies, Brooks Automation and LVL Technologies for agreeing to support the registration of students from Gambia, Uganda and Rwanda, where professional biobanking is still relatively new.”

At the end of the programme, students will take an official written examination and eventually receive a university certificate delivered by the University of Luxembourg.