Networked IT infrastructure for multicentre sample collections.

GBN’s IT network links biobanks and facilitates the search for human biosamples and associated data across multiple locations.

Sample Locator

The Sample Locator ( allows researchers to search for human biosamples and associated data in academic biobanks, mainly in Germany. The online search tool was developed by an interdisciplinary team of developers from the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) under the GBN umbrella. It is based on previous work by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and BBMRI-ERIC’s Common Service IT. The source code is available here. The Implementation Guide explains how to connect a biobank to the Sample Locator and which requirements must be met. It also contains step-by-step instructions.

Feasibility query

The first step in the search for biosamples and data is a feasibility query. All researchers are able to perform such queries. The Sample Locator then shows how many samples meeting the requested search criteria are available in the biobanks. Users are only able to learn where and how many samples are available from how many donors after logging in. An institutional email address and account password are sufficient if the user’s institution is registered with the German National Research and Education Network (DFN) – instructions on how to register can be found here.

Request samples

To request samples, users must register using their institutional account (DFN) or via the LifeScience Hostel. See here for more information on the registration process. They can then select the desired biobanks and will automatically be transferred to Negotiator from the Sample Locator. Negotiator is a communication platform that allows researchers to communicate effectively with several biobanks at the same time and biobanks to share information on the availability of samples/data confidentially.


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