What are biomaterials? Why are they important for medical research? And how are they stored? The German Biobank Node (GBN) and the ZeBanC, the central biomaterial bank of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute for Health (BIH), teamed up for a joint presentation at the Long Night of the Sciences on 15 June 2019 and answered numerous questions on the subject of biobanking. ZeBanC has been a new partner biobank within the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) since May.
The Governing Mayor Michael Müller also took part in the interactive programme offered by GBN and ZeBanC under the motto “Biobanking up close: research for tomorrow's health” and learnt about the use and value of biomaterial samples. Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel, head of ZeBanC and GBN coordinator, explained the principle of storing biomaterials during a guided tour of the biobank. Under professional guidance, the mayor then picked up the pipette himself.
"Biobank Triathlon”: a big hit
Numerous visitors completed the Biobank Triathlon, GBN and ZeBanC had set up its “course” in the glass hall at the Virchow Clinic Campus. The contestants first pipetted “blood” samples (red water), i.e. they had to fill various volumes of the liquid into reaction vessels. The participants then tried to scan the bar-coded sample vessels as quickly as possible. Next, they sorted “frozen” biosamples: Using appropriate equipment (protective goggles, gloves, lab coat), they selected tubes from a vessel filled with dry ice and from water (“liquid nitrogen”) with tweezers and sorted them into test tube holders – time was also stopped here. More than 50 certificates went to the triathletes who were highly interested in biobanking.
Guided tours through the ZeBanC
ZeBanC also opened its doors: Nina Bargezi, Dr. Dana Briesemeister and Angelika Dürr guided visitors through the biobank and gave them an insight into their work.