Explore the Arches - How the Health!
University of Malta BioBank
Festival Area: How the health!
The University of Malta BioBank (UM-BioBank) provides population based biomolecular tools to promote biomedical research both in Malta and in collaboration with other Euro-Mediterranean countries so as to improve healthcare. Many Academic and Corporate centers seek access to well organised collections of human biological materials and data to support discovery in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.
The University of Malta BioBank provides a resource for hypothesis driven population biobanking, discovery with large informative families and the basis for genomics in the Mediterranean basin. It is a national archive of blood and DNA together with associated health data and now curates over 100K samples. Known as the Malta Biobank, it has developed over the years with various European and private / public and institutional funding and includes specific disease collections and datasets that are fundamental for biobank-led research.
One of the goals of the biobank is to sequence one percent of the Maltese population for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and Copy Number Variations (CNVs). It is foreseen that this will lead to the discovery of genes and biomarkers to predict, detect and monitor disease together with the development of new pharmaceuticals/biotherapeutics (Theranostix). This will facilitate translational research and bridge the gap from bench to bedside.
The Principal Investigator of the UM-BioBank, Professor Alex Felice is a co-founder of EuroBioBank, the first European Network of Rare Disease Biobanks and the Biobanking and Biomolecular resources Research Infrastructure, European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC). BBMRI-ERIC is the largest Health Research Infrastructure of the European Union. There are now good prospects to host a Euro-Mediterranean Hub/BBMRI Expert Center at the University of Malta (UM).