18 August 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth
This new UCC facility will help centres like INFANT to biobank samples and data for future needs, and meets the critical need for supported storage resources. The INFANT centre, working within Cork University Maternity Hospital and other biobanking researchers throughout the world, has developed a burgeoning and rapidly expanding collection of samples relevant to mothers and babies. The biobank facility will allow the INFANT centre to expand its holdings and to surpass existing international best practice guidelines. Critically, this expansion will position UCC and INFANT to the forefront of biobanking internationally.
The new facility will further INFANT’s mission to improve future health outcomes for mothers and their babies as these samples could hold the key to medical problems that have affected pregnant women and their babies for centuries. Professor Louise Kenny, noted that “The INFANT centre is very unique as it is located in the Cork University Maternity Hospital where fantastic patients readily donate their samples and data for research. Biobanks like this allow us to explore large amounts of data and use the results to reduce and eventually prevent life-threatening complications in pregnancy and early life: that is what we are working towards, saving the lives of mothers and their babies.”Professor Joe Eustace, Director HRB Clinical Research Facility- Cork, echoed that sentiment commenting that “This state of the art facility, co-funded by SFI, the UCC Strategic Research Fund and the UCC College of Medicine and Health will greatly enable the conduct of world class research to the benefit of Irish patients.”
The Biobank was awarded €355,000 to expand, as part of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) infrastructure awards with supplementary funds from UCC. Commenting on this Professor Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research & Innovation, stated that: “The opening of the new biobank is a key element of research infrastructure which will impact locally and nationally. The foresight of SFI in providing funding for this project, and the stakeholders from within UCC who have focused on bringing this project about, have created an environment that will allow future generations of young researchers to benefit from this facility. I am sure that in time, developing infrastructures such as this will be regarded as one of the most strategically important investments in Ireland’s research system.”