Decarbonization Diaries: Building a Greener Biobanking Future with Biospecimen Tracking and Management Software

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Biobanking Podcasts - The Importance of Biospecimen Tracking and Management Software in Decarbonizing Biobanking

To watch the podcast

In an era of heightened emphasis on climate action, the decarbonization imperative extends to biobanks, recognized as essential but energy-intensive research infrastructures. 

With rich experience as the Head of Laboratory Support, Biobanking, and Services at IARC/WHO, Zisis Kozlakidis brings a seasoned perspective to our podcast, articulately delving into the crucial facets of biobanking, from environmental challenges to innovative solutions and the future landscape of sustainable practices in healthcare and research.

In this podcast, Zisis addresses the pressing environmental challenges associated with traditional biobanking practices and their contribution to carbon emissions. He sheds light on the unique challenges faced by biobanks in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) and unveils potential strategies for reducing their carbon footprint. Zisis provides insights into the innovative technologies adopted by high-income countries (HICs) to reduce energy consumption in biobanking and shares real-world examples of biobanking facilities successfully implementing decarbonization strategies. He explores the potential of informatics tools in reducing carbon footprint and provides invaluable advice for biobanks initiating their decarbonization journey. Zisis concludes by painting a vision of a future biobanking landscape, emphasizing its transformative impact on healthcare and global research.

Tune in to the podcast for these insightful discussions with Zisis Kozlakidis, shedding light on the path towards sustainable and environmentally conscious biobanking practices.

Key Takeaways 

  • What are the key environmental challenges associated with traditional biobanking practices, and how do they contribute to carbon emissions?
  • Considering the global impact of biobanking, how important is it for the biobanking community to engage in a dialogue about its environmental impact and incorporate sustainability measures into its governance practices?
  • What are the unique challenges biobanks in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) face when trying to reduce their carbon footprint? Also, what are some potential solutions or strategies for biobanks in LMICs to reduce their carbon emissions?
  • What role should governments, policymakers, and the broader scientific community play in prioritizing decarbonization efforts in biobanking, especially in LMICs?
  • What are some examples of innovative technologies and equipment that HICs are adopting to reduce energy consumption in biobanking?
  • Should biobanks gather data about the cost and consumption of liquid nitrogen and energy over the lifetime of freezers for successful decarbonization efforts, and what challenges exist in obtaining such data?
  • What are some real-world examples of biobanking facilities successfully implementing decarbonization strategies?
  • What are some cutting-edge technologies on the horizon that could transform biobanking and its approach to sustainability?
  • Are informatics tools recommended for biobanks to reduce their carbon footprint?
  • What are the first steps biobanks embarking on a journey towards decarbonization should consider?
  • What does the future biobanking landscape look like in terms of decarbonization goals, and how might this impact healthcare and research on a global scale?

Who Should Listen to the Podcast

Biobank managers, quality managers, and technicians.

Disclaimer

Where individuals are identified as personnel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer/WHO, these individuals alone are responsible for the views expressed in this article and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy, or views of the International Agency for Research on Cancer/WHO.

  • Environmental challenges associated with traditional biobanking practices and how they contribute to carbon emissions [2:17]
  • The importance of a dialogue about the impact of biobanking on the environment in the biobanking community [9:09]
  • Challenges biobanks in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) face when trying to reduce their carbon footprint and potential solutions [13:23]
  • The role of governments, policymakers, and the broader scientific community in prioritizing decarbonization efforts in biobanking [22:00]
  • Examples of innovative technologies and equipment that high-income countries (HICs) are adopting to reduce energy consumption in biobanking [27:49]
  • Understanding importance of data on the cost and consumption of liquid nitrogen (LN2) and energy over the lifetime of freezers and the challenges associated with gathering this data [32:46]
  • Real-world examples of biobanking facilities successfully implementing decarbonization strategies [38:57]
  • Technologies that could transform biobanking and its approach to sustainability [43:09]
  • The role of informatics tools in reducing the carbon footprints in biobanks [46:42]
  • Advice to biobanks beginning their decarbonization journey [52:17]
  • The future biobanking landscape and how it might impact global healthcare and research [58:48]

About the Speaker

Zisis Kozlakidis

Dr. Zisis Kozlakidis

Head
Laboratory Support, Biobanking, and Services
International Agency For Research on Cancer/WHO

Dr Kozlakidis is a virologist and an expert in biobanking. He is the Head of Laboratory Services and Biobanking at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) at the World Health Organization. He is responsible for one of the largest and most varied international collections of clinical samples in the world, focusing on gene-environment interactions and disease-based collections. This WHO infrastructure supports multinational efforts in making treatments possible and delivering these to resource-restricted settings.

Dr Kozlakidis has a PhD in microbiology from Imperial College London. He is an elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Royal Academy, and a Turnberg Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences; additionally, he is Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal ‘Innovations in Digital Health, Diagnostics and Biomarkers’. He served in the past as President of the International Society of Biological and Environmental repositories (ISBER) and as the Chair of the Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases for the BBMRI-ERIC (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium). He holds an Executive MBA from Cass Business School and is the co-founder of the City Healthcare Innovation Network. He also holds visiting faculty positions in China (Medical School, South Central University) and the UK (University College London and Business School, City University of London).