In an effort to share our biobanking expertise, we have developed a lifelong learning course in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg that is endorsed by ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories). The Principles of Biobanking course uniquely combines environmental and clinical principles of biobanking into one trans-disciplinary university certificate covering all technical, scientific and ethical/legal aspects.

Aims & Learning Outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide the theoretical, operational and practical knowledge required to facilitate the activities of existing biobanks and assist in the creation of new ones. It encourages exchange of knowledge and skills across different thematic groups involved in biospecimen conservation, storage, science and research.

Upon the completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Understand in depth the common principles of practical biobanking
  • Put different types of biobanks in context and draw conclusions regarding the theoretical basis of their operations
  • Apply the scientific basis of biobanking/biospecimen research in Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) development and implementation and in research exploitation of samples
  • Question the logistical, practical and technical steps of biobanking, and evaluate their coherence and adequacy
  • Compare different reports on biobank risk management and mitigation
  • Develop Best Practices/Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Validate biobank protocols, training and technology transfers
  • Analyse biobank Quality Management Systems (QMS) and the principles of certification, quality assurance and 3rd party ISO accreditation
  • Master the regulatory, legal and ethical aspects of biobanking
  • Produce biobank cost analysis and recovery reports


The course is organized in the form of an intensive three week seminar, with a written examination and a certificate from the University of Luxembourg. It incorporates site visits and practical demonstrations at IBBL, including nucleic acid extraction and characterisation, cell sorting and characterisation, progressive rate freezing, plant-algae cryopreservation and in vitro storage. In addition, it includes tutorial-based discussion sessions on the development of a Quality Assurance document (process flow, procedure, SOP), process analysis, the identification of quality indicators and the analysis of an SOP.

The comprehensive curriculum includes:

  • Foundation studies
  • The biospecimen process chain
  • Cryobiology
  • International developments
  • Practical biobanking
  • Specimen transit and shipment
  • Biobank statistics and strategies
  • IT and knowledge management
  • Risk management and mitigation
  • Impact of pre-analytical variations in research
  • Quality management systems and assurance
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Regulatory, legal and ethical aspects of biobanking
  • Systems biology
  • Cost analysis and recovery
  • Practical aspects of risk, freezers, liquid nitrogen, shipment, temperature monitoring

Teaching Staff

The course is taught by an experienced team of enthusiastic instructors representing different clinical, environmental and biodiversity conservation disciplines.

Get to know the instructors

Daniel WitteAarhus UniversityClinical Epidemiology
Dominic AllenIBBLBiobank Operations and Business Development
Evert-Ben van VeenMedLawconsultLegal & Bioethics
Fay BetsouIBBLBiospecimen Science / Quality Control
Jean-François HausmanLuxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)Plant Physiology & Molecular Biology
Jonas AstrinBonn Zoological MuseumMuseology
Karsten HillerUniversity of BraunschweigMetabolomics
Katy BeaumontIBBLBiorepository Logistics
Laurent AntunesIBBLPathology
Marc VandelaerIBBLInformation Technology
Marcos CastellanosUniversity of NottinghamEnvironmental Biorepository Management
Olga KofanovaIBBLCryobiology
Sabine GronowGerman Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ)Preservation of Microorganisms
Sabine LehmannIBBLQuality Management
Sean MayUniversity of NottinghamEnvironmental Biorepository Management
Stephen ChurchBDPreanalytics
William MathiesonIBBLBiospecimen Science
Zoran IvanovicAquitaine-Limousin Branch of French Blood Institute (EFS-AQLI)Stem Cells

Student testimonials


The next session will be in June 2019. Save the date.

Are expected to apply:

  • Biobank managers
  • Biobank auditors
  • Biobank technicians
  • Ethics committee members
  • Clinical researchers
  • Pathologists


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent & having an interest in biobanking
  • Good knowledge of English
  • CV, application letter and letters of recommendation for applicants should be addressed to Dr Maria-Manuela TONINI (
  • The selection will be carried out by a committee of representatives of IBBL and the University of Luxembourg
  • The course is presently designed for 35 students/year


  • Tuition fee: 2,000 € for administrative charges (ONLY AFTER definitive agreement of the application)

Flashback on the 2017 edition

Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-74
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-72
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-60
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-57
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-75
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-52
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-67
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-50
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-8
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-16
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-26
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-25
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-24
Biobanker Students 2017 WEB-48



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