Research Team Of The Month – CONCERT Biobank

The CONCERT Biobank’s dedicated team are committed to providing the best biospecimens for medical research across South West Sydney, Illawarra/Shoalhaven and the ACT.

Commencing operation in 2012, the CONCERT Biobank now stores over 20,000 specimens including tissues, bloods and other bodily fluids.

While the original focus was to establish itself as a viable biobank through large-scale specimen collection, the focus has now shifted from a volume-based to a value-based approach.

Biobank Manager, Joseph Po, explains that this involves promoting the biobank to researchers to use existing specimens as well as facilitating the collection of samples for project-specific research.

“We are a dynamic biobank always looking for ways to improve and stay relevant by collecting specimens that are needed by researchers,” Joseph explains.

The team is led by Biobank Director, Professor Soon Lee, who oversees and guides the team whilst providing his expertise in pathology. Dr Nicole Caixeiro, who was instrumental in starting and managing the biobank until Joseph Po’s appointment as Biobank Manager this year, continues to act in a consulting role. The team is supported by four casual staff who fulfill the collection roles.

Critical to the team is Clinical Nurse Consultant, Hei Lan Byun, who provides advice on how to best manage the specimen collection by providing information on the wellbeing of the patient.

“She gives us the real-world human perspective behind the specimen collection,” explains Nicole. “This is why we do the research. We’re doing it for the patients and, in her interactions with patients, Hei Lan reminds us of that.” 

By Linda Music