Ten biobanks affiliated with The University of Western Australia have received more than $1.2 million in funding through the State Government’s Biobank Interim Support Program 2021.
The biobanks, large collections of human biological materials for use in health and medical research, were awarded funding while a new State biobanking model is being developed.
Recipients include the Busselton Health Study Biobank, which received $252,981. It is overseen by the Chair of the Busselton Population Medical Research Institute, UWA Clinical Professor Alan James, whose research involves respiratory diseases and how these are associated with environmental and genetic risk factors.
Busselton Health Study data has been used by researchers to map the changing prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and to develop mathematical models to study disease risk factors in a population.
The UWA-affiliated Harry Perkins Institute DNA Biobank, was awarded $189,985, and its Cancer Biobank received $152,410. The ORIGINS Biobank, Telethon Kids Cancer Centre Biobank and the Wal-yan Respiratory Centre Cystic Fibrosis Biobank, administered by the Telethon Kids Institute on behalf of the Centre for Child Health Research at UWA, were awarded $170,735, $156,535 and $64,872 respectively.
Other biobanks associated with UWA to receive funding are: Lifelong Impact of Burn Injury, $24,876; National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases Biobank, $86,953; Perron Genomics Biobank, $97,547; The Western Australian Bio Bank, $71,514.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the grant recipients were selected through a competitive merit-based process with each biobank meeting criteria for excellence and engagement with the community.
“Biobanking might not be a term all Western Australians are familiar with, but it’s something we can all benefit from,” Mr Cook said.
“Samples donated by people directly to a biobank or through a research study are collected, stored and catalogued according to best practice processes, ensuring these bio-specimens can be used in important future research.”