About ESBB

ESBB is a society for people involved in the collection and storage of biological materials from all species. The society is focussed on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. ESBB has its origins in another society, the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).

ESBB was founded at a meeting in Milan in August 2010 and founding members include:
- Marta, Acilu
- Christian Chabannon
- Paolo Concio
- Ann Cooreman
- Vincenzo Costigliola
- Pasquale De Blasio
- Hans-Peter Deigner
- Michel Depont
- Kate Enright
- Olga Golubnitschaja
- Fiorella Guadagni
- Massimo Gulisano
- Robert Hewitt
- Laurent Jacotot
- Rita Lawlor
- Lorenzo Memeo
- Angelo Paradiso
- Egon Pfeifer
- Michele Piovella
- Mark Reymond
- Peter Riegman
- Antonella Rinaldi
- Elena Salvaterra
- Tobias Schulte-in-den-Baumen
- Erik Steinfelder
- Henny van Amerongen
- Philippe van der Hofstadt
- Rod Westrop
- Graham Wilson
- Holger Zetzsche

ESBB is now an independant legal entity and an association under French law (Loi 1901). Creation of ESBB as an association has been registered in the Journal Officiel de la République Française Annonce n° 211 - p.5718, 29th Nov 2014. Official text: "Déclaration à la sous-préfecture d'Aix-en-Provence. EUROPEAN, MIDDLE EASTERN & AFRICAN SOCIETY FOR BIOPRESERVATION & BIOBANKING ESBB. Objet : promotion en Europe, au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique, des biobanques dédiées à la gestion des ressources biologiques (humaines, animales, végétales, microbiennes et environnementales) pour aider la recherche dans les domaines de la médecine, l'agronomie et l'environnement. Siège social : 20, boulevard du Roi René, 13100 Aix-en-Provence. Date de la déclaration : 17 novembre 2014".

Honorary Member:
Pasquale De Blasio, in recognition of his outstanding service to ESBB

Former leadership members:
- Pasquale De Blasio, Founding President 2010-11
- Peter Riegman, President 2011-12
- Rita Lawlor, President 2012-13
- Manuel Morente, President 2013-14
- Tobias Schulte-in-den-Baumen, Treasurer 2010-14
- Marta Acilu, Executive Committee (ExCo) member 2010-14
- Ann Cooreman, ExCo member 2010-14
- Elena Salvaterra, ExCo member 2010-14
- Christian Chabannon, ExCo member 2010-14
- Marc Reymond, ExCo member 2010-14
- Olga Golubnitschaja, ExCo member 2010-14
- Peter Doran, ExCo member 2011-13
- Christian Oste, ExCo member 2011-13
- Roger Bjugn, ExCo member 2012-14

Annual conferences so far:
- 2011 in Marseille, France
- 2012 in Granada, Spain
- 2013 in Verona, Italy
- 2014 in Leipzig, Germany
The ESBB annual conference in 2015 will be in London, UK.

Collaboration agreements:
- EPMA MoU in 2010
- ANRRC MoU in 2012
- KNRRC MoU in 2014
- BEDO Record of Discussions in 2014
- Affiliation Agreement with ISBER in 2014



ESBB Mission & Goals

The mission of ESBB is to advance the field of biobanking in support of research relating to healthcare, agriculture and the environment.

The goals of ESBB are as follows:

Goal 1. Identify problems in the biobanking field and provide solutions.

Goal 2. Encourage high professional standards in biobanking.

Goal 3. Provide high value membership services for key actors in the biobanking field.

Goal 4. Encourage participation from a wide range of repositories across the EMEA region.

Goal 5. Provide a strong united voice for biobankers in the region, to influence development of their field.

Goal 6. Partner with other organizations involved with, or related to biobanking.

Goal 7. Encourage and support public-private biobank-related partnerships because of their scientific, medical and commercial importance.

Goal 8. Promote stakeholder support for biobanking.

Strategies to achieve these goals have been defined in the ESBB Business Plan.


ESBB Collaborations

ESBB has partnerships/collaborative agreements with the following organisations:






ESBB Council

(1) Bureau Members

- President: Erik Steinfelder (NL)
- President-Elect: Elke Smits (BE)
- Past-President:Hans-Peter Deigner (DE)
- Secretary: Christian Chabannon (FR)
- Treasurer: Barbara Parodi (IT)

(2) Councilors
- Jackie Mackenzie-Dodds (UK)
- Jeanne-Hélène di Donato (FR)
- Anna Bosch Comas (ES)
- position to be filled (vacated by Elke Smits)
- Paul Bartels (SA)
- Jens Habermann (DE)

(3) Ex-Officio Members
- Robert Hewitt (UK) - Executive Officer
- Rolf Morselt (NL) - Vendor Committee Chair

Job responsibilities on Council



Jackie Mackenzie-Dodds - Councilor

Jackie Mackenzie-Dodds is Molecular Collections Manager in the Life Sciences Department of the Natural History Museum in London, where she has been working for 22 years, in Research and Curation (Molecular Collections). She has recently established the new Molecular Collections cryofacility/NHM London Biobank for ~2 million biodiversity and environmental specimens and samples from across the globe spanning the Tree of Life, accessible to researchers worldwide. She has many contacts with museums and herbaria worldwide, which represent a large diverse population of biological specimens, including many endangered and/or extinct species, environmental time series, and agricultural and commercial interest collections, all providing invaluable genetic and environmental information for now and the future. Current climate change, global warming and the biodiversity crisis issues make these non-human repositories particularly valuable to mankind.

Jackie has been an ISBER and ESBB member from 2008 and 2010 respectively, and co-chairs the joint ESBB/ISBER Environmental Biospecimen Working Group (EB WG). She was also a member of the ESBB 2013 Verona Meeting programme committee representing non-human biobanking members.
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Jeanne-Hélène di Donato PhD - Councilor

Jeanne-Hélène di Donato has been involved in biobanking for the past 20 years, first as manager of the French AFM-Généthon biobank for a period of 14 years, then since 2005 as a consultant for biobanks in 3C-R Company. During this time, she has worked on establishment of best practices for BRCs as member of the French delegation for the OECD BRC Task Force and leader of the working group on best practice guidelines on human-derived material. She has also worked on the quality management system for BRCs as member of French commission for the publication of Standard NF S 96-900: BRC quality, which is the French standard alongside ISO 9001-2008 for biobank certification. She is a certificated auditor for ISO 9001 quality management. In addition she has worked on ethical issues relating to research use of human samples and is a member of an ethics committee for biological research. Also on the organisation of biobank activities with respect to logistic, administrative and legal issues. She is an expert on collections and biobanks for several French ministries, cancer organisations, and for her consulting clients. She has been involved in establishing and managing the Eurobiobank network since 2001 and in founding and managing the 3C-R Club, which is a francophone network of 83 BRCs established to promote discussion, collaboration and problem solving. Her involvement in ESBB began from the very beginning of this network and was the first individual member! She is involved in a variety of ESBB activities, including production of the English summary of her Cahier 3C-R reports for the members-only website, and is a member of the review panel for the Research Biobank of the Year Competition (RBYC).
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Barbara Parodi
Barbara Parodi - Treasurer

Barbara Parodi is a medical doctor and Executive Manager of the Biological Resource Centre of the National Institute for Cancer Research (IRCCS AOU San Martino – IST) of Genoa, Italy.  She has been deeply involved in biobanking for many years, dealing with scientific, organizational, technical and ethical issues. Her expertise is mainly in the management of biobanks, GLP and GMP. She has participated in the OECD Task Force on BRCs and contributed to the compilation of the OECD Best Practice Guidelines for Biological Resource Centres (2007).

Barbara's contribution to the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) started with the Preparatory Phase, and continues both at the European and National levels, where she works as project manager of the Italian national node of BBMRI. She  also participates in the Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) and in the Global BRC Network (GBRCN).  She is involved in several international working groups, including the “BioResource Impact Factor” initiative and the working group on sustainability of biobanks.

Barbara is Treasurer of ESBB and a member of both Bureau and Council.  She is also involved in the ESBBperanto working group, takes part in the Jury of the Biobank of the Year competition, and was a member of the 2013 Program Committee.
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Elke Smits - President-Elect of ESBB

Elke Smits earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Leuven, a Master of Science in Biotechnology and a PhD in Veterinary Sciences in 1998 from the University of Gent in Belgium. Elke Smits joined Devgen Inc, a spin-off company in Gent, as manager molecular cell biology for target discovery and drug development projects. In 2004, she became senior scientist at the Flemish Science Policy Council, the advisory body for the Flemish regional government concerning science and innovation policy. She has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles, holds several patents, wrote many policy advices and recommendations and authored the study series, Technology and Innovation in Flanders: Priorities.

Prof. dr. Elke Smits currently heads the Science & Innovation department of the Antwerp University Hospital and has gained extensive experience in merging translational research and biobanking within a clinical setting. She holds a visiting professorship position at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Antwerp and is liaison officer Clinical Research Center Antwerp for the Center for Medical Innovation.

Within ESBB, Elke leads the “ESBBtranslate” Pharma-Academia Working Group, together with Dr Christina Schroeder from Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and prof. Eoin Gaffney, pathologist and founder of the Biobank Ireland Trust. The goal is to bring together a forum to enable and enhance public-private biobank related partnerships within the European framework and foster biobank-based R&D and innovation with the pharmaceutical, biotech and ICT industry.
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Anna Bosch Comas PhD - Councilor

Anna Bosch Comas is the Scientific Coordinator of the IDIBAPS-Hospital Clinic Biobank, located in one of the largest academic hospitals in the city of Barcelona. Since 2012 she is also the Core Facility Manager of the Institution.

Most of her scientific career has been linked to the path of Biobanking in Spain. She obtained her PhD in the Genetics Department of the University of Barcelona. Right after that, two years before the approval of the Spanish Law of Biomedicine, she was appointed the Technical Coordination of the IDIBAPS Metabolic Disease Biobank. This position was her first contact with the emerging discipline of Biobanking and involved the planning and configuration of a networked Biobank with the corresponding recruitment of the sample processing team, the elaboration of SOPs, the coordination of the working group for the elaboration of Informed Consent documents and the organization of the new Biobank dependencies, among other duties.

The success of the Metabolic Disease Biobank was the seed of the IDIBAPS Biobank, one of the current largest Hospital Biobanks in Spain which annually serves thousands of standardized samples to ethically and scientifically accepted research projects. The approval of the Biomedicine Law in 2007 was the perfect catalyst for the organization of human sample collections into Institutional Biobanks under a common management model and following strict quality and confidentiality regulations. Her main responsibilities as the Scientific Coordinator of the IDIBAPS Biobank have been the strategic planning and budget management, team supervision, evaluation and harmonization of retrospective collections and diffusion activities.
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Professor Christian Chabannon - ESBB Secretary

Christian Chabannon is a Professor of Medicine at the Université d’Aix-Marseille, and a full member at the Institut Paoli-Calmettes, the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Marseille. Since 2000, he is the head of the Cell Therapy Facility as well as the tumor bank / Biological Resource Center for Oncology at IPC. Previously, Pr. Chabannon trained at the Lyon and Grenoble University Hospitals in France, and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, USA. He is a board-certified specialist in Hematology and Medical Oncology. His medical and scientific interests lie in hematopoietic stem cell biology and transplantation, the development of cell therapies, and more generally clinical and translational research in hematology and medical oncology. Pr. Chabannon is a member of several scientific societies. He currently serves as President for JACIE, the Joint Accreditation Committee for ISCT Europe and EBMT, which delivers accreditation to European hematopoietic stem cell programs complying with FACT-JACIE standards. He is also the scientific coordinator for Cancéropôle PACA, the regional cancer research network that promotes networking and communication in all aspects of oncology research in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur area; one of the prominent successes of Cancéropôle PACA has been the establishment of a common and shared web-based catalogue for its three tumor banks. Contact details: chabannonc(at)


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Prof Dr Hans-Peter Deigner - Past-President of ESBB

Hans-Peter Deigner currently is Professor of Pharmacology and Vice Dean of the new faculty of Medical and Life Sciences (Furtwangen University, Germany, ), also holds an affiliation with Fraunhofer, IZI (Leipzig, Germany). During the past years he applied metabolomics to identify and develop biomarkers at Fraunhofer Institute IZI / EXIM, Rostock, Germany and Biocrates AG, Innsbruck, Austria.

Hans-Peter has extensive experience in omics and biomarker research including several senior management positions positions in Biotech companies. He authors about 75 peer reviewed articles and 40 patents / patent applications and is a regular reviewer for numerous scientific journals and funding agencies.  While holding senior management positions in biotech industry he has developed novel molecular diagnostics from the idea via the prototype to the final commercial product. From 2004-2006 he took up a chair in Biomedicinal Chemistry, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Hans-Peter Deigner graduated in pharmaceutical chemistry, Heidelberg University, Germany and after a position as research associate at Harvard Medical School returned to Heidelberg to finish his habilitation and to work as group leader and senior lecturer/associate professor. His current research interests comprise the integration of omics data and its combinatorial use in biospecimen & biomarker research, systems biology, molecular diagnostics and individualized therapy.

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Erik Steinfelder - President of ESBB

Erik earned his Bachelor of Science in Analytical Chemistry at the Saxion Hogeschool in Deventer, Netherlands and completed Foundations of Management at the Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen, Netherlands. Since 1998 he chaired several Conference Program Committees related to Laboratory Automation and Informatics, participated in Organizing Committees around Food Safety, Animal Healthcare and Water Management and was a member of the editorial advisory board of Laboratory Magazine.

Erik Steinfelder had various commercial roles in Labautomation companies and Contract Laboratories before he joined Thermo Fisher Scientific. Currently he is heading the complete biobank portfolio and activities for Thermo Fisher Scientific as the Biobank Commercial Leader in EMEA.

Within ESBB Erik is the current President, Founding member, Chair of the Vendor Committee 2013-2015 and Program Committee Member 2011-2015.

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Dr Christina Schroeder - Councilor

Christina Schroeder was trained as a chemist and received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Mainz. After additional seminars in science communication and journalism, she volunteered for PR work with the German Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society (GBM2) in the 1990s, and was awarded their Communication Price in 2003. Serving as a managing officer to the former German Industrial Association for the Promotion of Human Genome Research since 2000, she was appointed coordinator of the Central Research Infrastructure for molecular Pathology (CRIP) in 2005. CRIP was established in a private-public partnership between the said Association, 7 pharmaceutical companies and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), and was transferred to Fraunhofer IBMT in 2007. As a representative of Fraunhofer IBMT, she has been actively involved in BBMRI work packages for Disease-oriented biobanks (WP-3), ICT (WP-5) and Funding and financing (WP-7). Within ESBB, Christina leads the “ESBBtranslate” Pharma-Academia Working Group, together with Dr Elke Smits.

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Dr Robert Hewitt - Executive Officer

Robert Hewitt studied medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, London and later obtained a PhD at the Medical Research Council Virology Unit, Univ. of Glasgow.  He worked 5 years in pathology as Clinical lecturer in Pathology at the University of Nottingham, before moving to Bethesda, Maryland, USA, to take up an NIH research fellowship from 1994-98 at the Lab of Pathology of the US National Cancer Institute.  Robert has been involved in biobanking for the past sixteen years, and has been involved in setting up biobanks at Hammersmith Hospital in London, UK; then King Faisal Specailist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and then National University Hospital in Singapore (the NUH-NUS Tissue Repository) where he also established a hospital-based cancer registry. He was ISBER president from 2008-2009 and chaired numerous committees from 2006 to 2013. He co-founded ESBB in 2010 and has been the Executive Officer from the start. He is also European Editor of the journal, Biopreservation and Biobanking. He was winner of the ISBER Distinguished Leadership & Service Award (2011) and the ISBER Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking (2012).

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