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The Virtual Biobanks

MIT Stata Center_051118
(MIT Ray and Maria Stata Center, Jenny Fowter)



  • [Wikipedia]: A virtual biobank is a virtual repository which provides data extracted from and characterizing samples stored at classical biobanks.[1] Virtual biobanks are large databases and can provide high-resolution images of samples as well as other characteristic data. These virtual biobanks can be accessed via specialized software or web portals. Samples are stored in a decentralized manner. The use of virtual biobanks provides access, in the form of pre-collected data, without requiring access to the physical sample. This allows the sample's data to be more readily shared without fear of contaminating/destroying/transporting the sample. Virtual biobanks are often used in bioinformatics.
  • [The University of Newcastle]: The Virtual Biobank is an online platform that houses 2D and 3D microscopy datasets of valuable clinical biopsy samples. The recent advance of 3D tissue clearing technology has allowed us to produce and display 3D image datasets alongside traditional 2D micrographs used by pathologists and researchers. Each dataset is furnished with detailed, de-identified clinicopathological and technical metadata to provide context for further research. Physical samples associated with each dataset can also be obtained from the source biobank, using provided contact details. Importantly, the datasets have been made available to both researchers and the general public to encourage greater utilisation of clinical data. We have also developed a free toolkit for contributors, which includes Tissue Tracker for collecting accurate experimental metadata, and a Terastitcher Pipeline for stitching overlapping image z-stacks for 3D visualisation and analysis. The toolkit is currently accessible to UoN affiliates and research partners. For information on becoming a research partner, please email [email protected]



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