UNMC prepares to open biobank

The Nebraska Biobank -- an endeavor led by the office of the Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research -- is set to open in December at UNMC.

A Science Cafe on Tuesday will tell all about it (see sidebar). But if you want to find out more about The Nebraska Biobank now, read below.

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Biologic samples will be collected and available for use in The Nebraska Biobank.

Biobanks are repositories of biologic samples that can be used to speed access to human samples and health data for clinical and translational research. The Nebraska Biobank will consist of human serum and DNA obtained from excess clinical blood specimens from The Nebraska Medical Center. Samples from participating donors will be collected from unused, leftover blood samples that would have previously been discarded. The specimens will be linked to a searchable clinical data repository of anonymous health information to allow genotype-phenotype comparisons.


This will be a statewide resource to support the study and validation of:

  • New markers of disease (protein and DNA);
  • Research in pharmacogenomics (the study of genes that regulate drug response, outcome and metabolism);
  • Gene-wide association studies to identify new candidate genes for disease risk;
  • The development of normal population ranges for research laboratory tests (including age or gender-specific sub-populations); and
  • Public health surveillance for pathogens or toxins.

Because it is focused on Nebraska, it will be a unique resource to evaluate rural or environmental health concerns, and is consistent with UNMC's strategic plan to grow clinical and translational research.


UNMC received $1.28 million from the Nebraska Research Initiative (NRI) to support the biobank's development. UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center will partner to provide additional personnel and infrastructure support. In addition to the Vice Chancellor for Research Office, UNMC units helping to develop the resource include:

  • The UNMC Department of Pathology and Microbiology;
  • The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Core Facility;
  • The Genetics and Genomics Core Facility;
  • The Center for Clinical and Translational Research;
  • The Scientific and Pilot Grant Review Committee;
  • The Institutional Review Board;
  • Compliance Office;
  • The Research Subject Advocate Office, and
  • Cindy Owen, vice president of corporate affairs at The Nebraska Medical Center.


For more information, contact:

  • Deborah Meyer, associate research subject advocate in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, at 402-559-6941 or dmeyerk@unmc.edu; or.
  • Chris Kratochvil, M.D., assistant vice chancellor for clinical research and chief medical officer for UNeHealth, at 402-559-8490 or ckratoch@unmc.edu.


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Science Cafe

The Nebraska Biobank will be the focus of the next Omaha Science Cafe on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Slowdown in Omaha. Free pizza, available for the first 50 people in attendance, will be provided by Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.