Biobank Technical and Research Assistant
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE
I work for NDS QUOD (Quality in Organ Donation) Biobank and more recently have been collaborating with the NHSBT in the development and implementation of the COBA (Covid-19 Oxford BioArchive) Biobank using all the expertise I have gained these last few years.
My daily activities ensure that high quality human samples are received, catalogued and preserved for future research in Transplant Science and more recently COVID-19 clinical studies.
I have been a Certified Laboratory Technician since 2006, with a background in Microbiology however, most of my experience has been gained in Human Biology related R&D labs, namely in the Faculty of Medicine of Porto and since 2017 the University of Oxford.
Human sample Biobanks are invaluable to Research. They provide extensive and highly characterised samples collected from healthy and diseased subjects. I believe they play a crucial role in Medical knowledge advancements. My role is critical for the growth and maintenance of a biorepository that supplies such invaluable samples to different research fields.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
Biobanks are indirect Research supporters. It is extremely rewarding to listen to a symposium presentation or read articles that have used our samples. Another incredible aspect of the QUOD platform is data compilation from all projects we provide samples to. This prevents unnecessary duplication of research and promotes collaboration between several groups.
I am also extremely humbled by the generosity of families that have consented for donation to save lives as well as research.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU'VE DONE, CONTRIBUTED TO THAT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
When faced with the challenge of developing and implementing a Biobank for COVID-19 relevant sample cohorts last March, I am very proud of how quickly and efficiently I was able to create, together with our Database Manager, a biobank platform and adjust it to the different requirements for each cohort. We were contacted for a collaboration with NHSBT to process and provide relevant samples for rapid scale up of COVID-19 antibody testing validation. Less than 24 hours after receiving the first samples, said samples were made available for the first essays. I am also very proud of QUODs’ collaboration with the Convalescent Plasma Trials, RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP clinical trials, all part of COBA.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS?
Better representation of Human diversity in Research. Quick example: Most studies are focused on relatively homogenous male subjects. Such studies, are unable to predict how their findings will reflect on a different gender or genetic background. Personalised Medicine is a growing field, one that Biobanks can help with.