Former Leadership

Pasquale De Blasio

Founding President

Pasquale De Blasio, is presently the CEO of BioRep (, a global service provider biorepository based in Milan, Italy; President of ESBB and Adjunct Associate Professor at Temple University, Philadelphia-PA (USA) and founder of Integrated Systems Engineering S.r.l. ( operating in development of automation instruments for molecular and cellular biology (e.g Tissue Microarrayers, Biorepositories automation, etc.). Pasquale has more than 35 years of industrial working experience in management positions. He worked for more than 14 years in Industrial and Power Plant design, and over 15 years in analytical instrumentation developments.. He has also matured specific skills in multinational analytical instrumentation companies, as R&D Manager for the developments of HPLC Systems, UV/VIS Spectrophotometers, Ultra Centrifuges and Medical Anaesthesia Systems; and as Industrial Operations Management in the development and manufacturing of Blood Gas and Coagulation Analytical Instruments.. He has also experience with ISO 9001 Quality System, EEC Medical Directive and CE certification. He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA (1976), and a Master Degree in Business Administration from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy (1986). He is co-author of several peer-reviewed scientific papers and co-participants of several industrial patents. Contact details: p.deblasio(at); pasquale.deblasio(at)

Peter Riegman

President 2011-12

Peter Riegman is at present the head of the Erasmus Medical Center Tissue Bank. The tissue bank offers fresh frozen tissue and pathology archival FFPE materials for medical research. The frozen samples are covered with a QA and QC program collected under the rules defined by the Dutch code of conduct. From this position he is involved in four European projects, EurocanPlatform, SPIDIA, EuroBoNeT and BBMRI. He has coordinated the TuBaFrost project, which is still active within the OECI, where he is co-opted board member and chair of the OECI working group biobanking. From 2008 he became ISBER president-elect, 2009-2010 he has been ISBER president, which is followed by the role of past president until 2011. He was elected vice president at the end of 2010 as vice president in ESBB ISBER chapter. In 2011 he became a member of the Editorial board of Biopreservation and Biobanking and of the International Steering Committee of P3G.

Rita Lawlor

President 2012-13

Rita Lawlor is a founder and project manager for the ARC-NET ( cancer research centre in Verona, Italy. She is head of its Research Biobank involved in European Community funded researches for novel molecular diagnostic markers (, therapeutic targets (, and epidemiological studies in cancer (pangen-eu). She project manages the Italian effort within the International Cancer Genome Consortium ( and the Italian collaboration with Australia and Canada for pancreas cancer. Member of the working group to define the standards for Research Biobanks of the Veneto Regional Government of Italy. She has more than 20 years international experience. In Japan for 6 years, she developed the first trading systems for top trading Japanese companies. She matured skills in risk analysis, over 10 years developing disaster recovery solutions for financial institutions in Japan and Europe. She acquired experience in on-line education while project managing creation of: a data mining knowledge management platform; and a helicopter technical on-line training course for the Italian police. Her experience took her from financial banking to biological sample banking. She has worked for seven years in cancer research and bio-banking and in dataset definition for Italian National pancreas group and the International Cancer Genome Consortium. Degree in Computer Science (1986) and Master Degree (1992), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Diploma and Certified in Project Management with Project Management Institute (PMI). Certificate in Principles of biobanking from the University of Luxemburg. Member of PMI, Italian Societies of Pathology (SIAPEC) and Pancreatology (AISP). Committee member of ESBB. Contact details: rita.lawlor(at)

Manuel Morente


Manuel Morente is a specialist in Pathology who has worked for 15 years as both a surgical pathologist at the Hospital General Universitario de Guadalajara (Spain) and Associate Professor at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. He was appointed as the Head of the Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO) Tumour Bank Unit ( in 2001 and since 2009 he has been Coordinator of the Spanish National Biobank Network ( a nationwide network including more than 60 biobanks, called to be the Spanish Scientific component of BBMRI-ERIC. He is member of the Spanish National Institute of Health Ethics Committee, Acting President of CNIO’s Committee for Research Integrity & Professional Conduct, and Director of the 1st University Master on Biobanking in Spain (UCV, Valencia). He is an active participant in a number of biobanking organisations and societies including BBMRI, ISBER, ESBB, Marble Arch Working Group, European Human Frozen Tumour Tissue Bank (TuBaFrosT), and the Tumour Bank Program of the Spanish Cancer Centres Network, and he actively promotes biobank networks throughout Europe and Latin America.

Hans-Peter Deigner

President 2014-15

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.

Tobias Schulte-in-den-Baumen

Treasurer 2011-14

Tobias Schulte in den Bäumen is an Attorney at Law and Partner at the law firm Wolff/Graeser, based in Bielefeld / Germany. He has been advising researchers, clinicians and biobanks for a number of years in privacy, technology transfer and regulatory affairs issues. He is a founding member of the ESBB, a former visiting research fellow at the JRC-IPTS for legal aspects of biobanking and the former chair of the legal working group of the Public Health Genomics European Network (PHGEN). Before joining Wolff/Graeser he has been serving as the Secretary General of the European Law Institute (ELI) in Vienna / Austria and as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences at Maastricht University/Netherlands.

Christina Schroeder

Councilor, Chair of ESBBtranslate Working Group 2011-15

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.

Jackie Mackenzie-Dodds

Councilor, Chair of Enviro-Bio Working Group 2013-16

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.

Marta Acilu

Councilor 2011-14

Marc Reymond

Councilor 2011-14

Professor Marc Reymond is a board-certified gastrointestinal surgeon. He was trained at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Since 2005, he is Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the Protestant Hospital Bielefeld ( ), an academic hospital with 1500 beds in Germany. He was group leader at the Foundation for Medical Research at the University of Geneva. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers in the fields of surgical oncology, of sample preparation, of cancer proteomics, of tumor cell dissemination and research bioethics. He is a reviewer for 20+ journals and grant agencies. He is also serving in the board of two non-profit biobanks (; ). Dr Reymond is Professor of Surgery at the University of Magdeburg, at the Westphalia University Münster and Honorary Professor at the State Medical Academy, Kyrgyzstan. He is the author of several books. He is heading an annual training course for surgeons on behalf of the German College of Surgeons. Dr Reymond completed a MBA (AACSB) in Science & Technology with LaSalle University, PA. He is the founder of a biotechnology company and holder of two innovation prizes. He is inventor of several patents.

Ann Cooreman

Councilor 2011-14

Dr. Ann Cooreman is the co-founder of Tissue Solutions Ltd ( based in Glasgow, Scotland.  The company helps researchers find human biomaterials for pre-clinical research: fresh, frozen and FFPE tissues, blood products and cell lines, normal and diseased material, all ethically obtained.  She is also the company COO. Ann Cooreman started her career as an academic in a very different field but fate led her to become the tissue acquistionist for Scottish Biomedical where she fine-tuned her knowledge of ethics in the UK and Europe with regards to the use of human samples for research.  Her experience as Project Manager at Scottish Biomedical and previously at IBM has helped her in growing Tissue Solutions into a niche company, which is establishing a global name for itself after 3 and a half years in the business. Ann Cooreman received a Master’s Degree from the University of Antwerp in Germanic Philology in 1980, Summa Cum Laude, and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Oregon in 1985.  She has authored several peer reviewed articles in journals and books as a linguist but is happier as a business woman than she was as an academic.

Akin Abayomi

Councilor 2013-15

Akin Abayomi is a physician and pathologist currently employed as an Associate Professor in the University of Stellenbosch Medical Faculty, based in Cape Town. He is also the Chief Pathologist and Head of the Division of Haematology at Tygerberg Academic Hospital, National Health Laboratory Services. He has been involved in biobanking now for about 6 years and his current interest has been amplified by his involvement in the H3Africa consortium project as Principle Investigator of one of the H3Africa central biobanks to be located in Cape Town. This is a 7 year project to establish a fully operational centralized biobank for African genomic studies on the continent of Africa. More recently Akin is also the Co-PI on the AIDS Malignancy Consortium, Cancer Specimen Resource for sub Sahara Africa. In addition he serves as the Chair of the Haematology expert committee of South Africa, President of the South African Society of Haematologists, Africa International adviser to the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom, Council member of the International Society of Clinical Cytometry and Vice President of Caribbean Cytometry and Analytical Society. Akin is also interested in the impact of Climate Change on biodiversity and human health and has been involved in the development of South Africa's National Communication on Climate Change.

Peter Doran

Councilor 2011-13

Dr. Peter Doran earned his BSc. from Dublin City University in 1998 and his PhD from University College Dublin in 2001. Dr. Doran is a lecturer at the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, and Scientific Director of the UCD Clinical Research Centre (CRC). The UCD CRC with facilities at both the Mater Misericordiae and St. Vincent's University Hospitals drives clinical and translational research which is aimed at improving patient care by acting as a catalyst to bring all members of the biomedical research enterprise together to ensure novel health interventions are developed and diffused into Irish healthcare practice. Dr Doran leads the significant biobanking activity completed at the UCD CRC and has been the driver for the creation of national biobanking guidelines. The main focus of his research is the complications associated with HIV and its treatment. Since the introduction of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), morbidity and mortality have been significantly reduced. However, a number of serious side effects have been seen in these patients. HIV patients are at increased risk of decreased bone density, and osteoporosis. His laboratory is focused on uncovering the effects of both HIV and antiviral treatment on the biology of bone cells. Specifically we are interested in changes in the function of osteoblasts and Mesesnchymal stem cells. Through these investigations we are gaining further insight into the interaction of HIV with the body.

Roger Bjugn

Councilor 2012-14

Roger Bjugn is a board certified pathologist with a PhD in neuroscience. In addition, he has a master’s degree in management. He has previously held a number of elected positions in the Norwegian Medical Associatian, inluding Chairman of the Norwegian Society of Pathology. His knowledge of biobanking is based on hands-on experience with both ethical, organizational and technical biobank issues. Since 2004, he has been working particularly with administrative systems and technical infrastructure related to diagnostic biobanks, treatment biobanks and research biobanks at Oslo University Hospital in Olso, Norway. He has also been involved in several regional, national and international biobank projects. Roger has been an ISBER-member since 2004 and is currently a member of the working group on hospital integrated biorepositories. He has also been a member of the Marble Arch Working Group since its initiation in 2005.

Philippe Van Der Hofstadt

Councilor 2011-13

Philippe Van der Hofstadt is CEO of B & C Group, a European niche packaging & logistics company dedicated to clinical research and active on a global scale  ( After the degree of Pharmacist at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Philippe worked at SGS Laboratoires Simon and Biopharma to become Industrial Pharmacist and did a third cycle in Pharmaceutical Engineering. He has worked as Junior Consultant in Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Research with Cogepharm & Pharmarisk in France and Belgium, Sales Manager with SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories' Central Laboratory (now QUEST) in Europe, and was General Manager of CRL-Medinet (Central Laboratory) in the Netherlands. In 1999, he started the expansion of B & C Group as a niche service provider in clinical research offering innovative & flexible Drug & kit packaging & warehousing, transport, biobanking and drug archiving solutions to Pharma & Biotech companies, CROs, Central Labs and Academic or Research Institutions. Philippe is active in several Professional Associations and is currently:

President of BeCRO, the Belgian Association of CROs ( , member of EUCROF, the European CRO Federation (,

President of the VAPI-UPIP (Belgian Association of Industrial Pharmacists),

Member of the BioWin Biobanking Working Group composed of representatives from commercial Biorepositories, the Belgian Cancer Registry, Universities, Research Laboratories, (Bio)Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic companies.

Robert Hewitt

Executive Officer 2010-17

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 was Executive Officer from the start until October 2017. He was also European Editor of the journal, Biopreservation and Biobanking from 2009-2016. He was winner of the ISBER Distinguished Leadership & Service Award (2011) and the ISBER Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking (2012).

History of 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 was founded at a meeting in Milan in August 2010 and founding members include: Marta Acilu, Christian Chabbannon, Paolo Concio, Ann Cooreman, Vicenzo Costigliola, Pasquale De Blasio, Hans-Peter Deigner, Michael 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, and Holger Zetzsche.