Educational Workshop Registration

The ISBER Education & Training Committee is pleased to announce the following Educational Workshops taking place at the ISBER 2017 Annual Meeting. Please note, the workshops are open to all registered delegates at no additional cost.


Pre-registration is now closed.

Please note that pre-registration does not guarantee your seat at the Educational Workshops. As space is limited, we recommend arriving 5-10 minutes early to secure your seat.


Wednesday, May 10 – 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Educational Workshop 1: Thinning the Collection – can biobanks ever discard samples?

Rebekah Rasooly (USA), Bartha M. Knoppers (Canada) & Sherilyn J. Sawyer (Canada)

As population-based studies and precision medicine approaches become more popular, the collections in biobanks are growing dramatically.  In the US, for example, the All of Us Research Program (Precision Medicine Initiative®) and the Million Vets Program each plan to collect samples from one million individuals.  However, it is extremely expensive to maintain such collections and this poses challenges for the institutions or funding agencies supporting the repository.

This workshop will examine how human biosample repositories manage their collections ethically and appropriately in a sustainable manner.  Can a biobank discard some of its human samples?  How do we consider the participant’s perspective when deaccessioning samples? Would the participant prefer that the samples be discarded or used for research with very little merit (‘having a garage sale for samples’)?  For how long is a repository obliged to maintain a sample where the consent does not specify an end date?  Should samples to be discarded be returned to the collecting investigator or just destroyed?


Educational Workshop 2: Limitations affecting the Use of Human & Animal Tissues in Research: What the Literature Tells Biorepositories

William E. Grizzle (USA), Dennis Otali (USA), Daniel S. Atherton (USA), Katherine C. Sexton (USA)

Some requests for tissues including associated specimen requirements specified by investigators as well as some requirements used by biorepositories in their operations are based on hearsay and anecdotal information; in contrast, all such requirements should be based on scientific studies. This workshop will focus on how the literature in biorepository sciences aids biorepositories in selecting requirements for biorepository operations and in educating investigators as to standards for research tissues. Thus, the workshop supports the mission and vision of ISBER in their goals of educating the biorepository community and investigators in order to pursue optimal tissue quality for supporting research.


Educational Workshop 3: Business Planning for Biobanking

Erik Steinfelder (Netherlands), Alison Perry-Jones (United Kingdom)

Biobanking is a relatively young scientific discipline that requires multiple skills and competences that go way beyond being a good custodian of valuable collected materials. Challenges around governance, ethics, data management, logistics and quality are faced by many biobanks in their daily routine. This session will discuss:

  1. General business planning for biobanking
  2. Making your biobank visible and adding value
  3. Financials – sustain after the first 5 years
  4. ELSI and business planning; is it a threat or can it help moving forward


Thursday, May 11 – 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Commercialization and Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) Workshops:
Translating basic research discoveries into practical application involves private industry, the public sector, and academia, from human to animal to environmental research. However, there are complex policies and ELSI issues involved in these sectors’ biobanking activities and sample uses in research. This two-part workshop series will highlight ELSI issues related to the commercial development and/or use of specimens and associated phenotypic data, ownership of/rights to use specimens and associated data, and benefits sharing arising from specimen access and use.


Educational Workshop 4: Commercialization and ABS Part 1: Public and Community Perspectives on Sample Use

Piper Mullins (USA), Marta Castelhano (USA), William E. Grizzle (USA)
Panelists: Kirstin Goldring (United Kingdom) and Judith Giri (USA)

Workshop Part 1, “Public and Community Perspectives on Sample Use,” will present speakers from the museum, veterinary, and human academic sectors. The speakers will discuss a) access and benefit sharing (ABS) policies stemming from the Nagoya Protocol, and applicable to science policy for all biobankers, and b) universities’ and public sectors’ experience sharing benefits and working with companies for commercial use of specimens. The presentations will be followed by a group-led discussion to contextualize the policy implementation approaches discussed.


Educational Workshop 5: The Practice (and Art) of Biospecimen Governance

Marianna Bledsoe (USA), Helen Morrin (New Zealand), Nicole Sieffert (USA)

Biospecimen governance is essential to the development and continuation of successful biorepositories and biospecimen-related research efforts.  Defining the authorities, processes, and procedures required to guide key operational decisions however, can be difficult. This workshop will include interactive discussion, share working examples, and provide an introduction to the following aspects of research biospecimen governance:

  • Governance definition, purpose, models
  • Responsibilities of the PI, IRB, etc.
  • Participant Engagement
  • Biospecimen access concerns (policies,ELSI, etc.)
  • Biospecimen distribution concerns (coding, tracking, consent, etc.)


Educational Workshop 6: First, Do No Harm:  Best Practices and Regulatory Requirements when Procuring Tissue Specimens in the Clinical Setting

Shannon McCall (USA)

While some biorepositories focus primarily on processing, storage, management, and distribution of specimens that arrive for accessioning via courier service, biorepositories associated with hospitals often also manage specimen procurement in the clinical setting in partnership with the hospital’s Pathology department and clinical laboratories. The pathologist’s unique medical training allows them to function as patient advocate, ensuring the fidelity of the diagnostic process.  This workshop will review specimen procurement from the perspective of a physician-pathologist.


Thursday, May 11 – 1:45 pm – 3:30 pm

Educational Workshop 7: Commercialization and ABS Part 2: Private & Legal Perspectives and Commercialization Use Cases

Mark Barnes (USA), Gilbert Lau (Malaysia), Kirstin Goldring (United Kingdom)
Panelist: William E. Grizzle (USA)

Workshop Part 2, “Private & Legal Perspectives and Commercialization Use Cases,” will present three speakers from the legal, private, and government sectors. The speakers will discuss a) ownership and use of human specimens; b) a private industry perspective on commercial use and working with the public sector; and c) a government use case on commercializing specimens using the Nagoya Protocol. This series of short presentations will be followed by audience discussion.


Educational Workshop 8: Public Education about Biobanks

Suzanne Vercauteren (Canada), Sheila O’Donoghue (Canada)

It is clear that the vast majority of the general public has no or little concept about what biobanks are and what their purpose is. There is an obvious need to educate the public so that they can make an informed decision when asked to participate in biobanking or research. A number of excellent videos and pamphlets have been designed to educate the public on what biobanks areand will be presented as part of the introduction to the workshop. The BC Transplant media kit will be presented as an example of a tool used to educate the public about a similar topic.

The objective of the workshop is to have attendees identify key messages to include in the contents of a public education biobank kit in different formats (print ad, online ad, fact sheet, letter, radio, video). These items will be drafted by workshop attendees.

(Up to 6) members of the public interested in engaging in the workshop will be identified by local (Toronto-based) colleagues. An orientation to biobanking, including a one hour teleconference, will be presented to the invited members of the public prior to the workshop.

Pre-registered attendees of the workshops will be put into working groups comprised of members of the public, researchers, biobankers and others interested in the topic. Non-registered attendees will be assigned to groups based on their professions and personal interests.  Following a brief introduction to the purpose of the session and the working groups tasks, the groups will be invited to describe key messages to include in a biobank public education kit. Each working group will present the unique aspects of their education kit to the whole group.

Finally, if there is time there will be a discussion about ISBER’s role in public education about biobanks. We will also discuss how/if messages need to be adjusted for the global ISBER audience.enters:


Educational Workshop 9: Best Practices for Storage Equipment and Environment

John Fink (USA), Marta Castelhano (USA)

ISBER best practices advocate transferring samples as quickly as possible, but how fast are quick and is it fast enough?  Recent research demonstrates vials at cryogenic temperatures can warm as fast as 2°C per second when exposed to an ambient environment.  The type of sample, consumable, exposure environment and time will all affect the temperature rise of the sample.  Additionally, research shows that warming events can adversely affect post-thaw sample quality and viability.

Biobanking professionals need to identify the variables that affect sample warming in order to understand the scale of the transient event and its effect.  Only then, can they implement controlled and monitored processes to ensure valuable samples are never damaged from excessive temperature elevations.

In this workshop attendees will learn about the latest temperature excursion research and the effect of temperature change on biobank samples. This workshop will foster a discussion on:

  • Causes and rates of sample warming and all variables
  • How increasing cell-based research and therapies are changing the temperature needs of researchers
  • Current practices vs. best practices on maintaining sample temperature and viability
  • How to build more rigor into the cold-chain management of your sample inventory
  • Methods to improve standardization and monitoring of sample temperature control in a biobank
  • How new technologies can enable better sample protection and monitoring



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