ESBB’s 2013 Annual Conference took place in Verona, Italy from the 8th to the 11th October. ESBB collaborated with the Italian node of BBMRI which held its launch or “kick-off” meeting the day before the main conference. This was the third ESBB annual conference following on from conferences in Marseille (2011) and Granada (2012).
The conference venue was the Palazzo della Gran Guardia, an impressive building that dates from 1610 and originally served as the headquarters of the city guard. The building is now used as a conference centre and gallery. The Gran Guardia is situated on the south side of Piazza Bra and faces the Roman Arena.
The conference theme was “Biobanking for the Future”. A wide variety of content from across the biobanking spectrum was offered. Sessions included: Global Biobanking, Ancient DNA, Biobanking for Personalised Medicine, Biobanking for Conservation, Sustainability of Biobanks and the Financial Crisis, and Innovative Biobanking.
New features included interactive sessions in which audience participation was facilitated by an electronic voting system. Topics for these interactive sessions included: “The Life in Data” and “Everything Your Wanted to Know About Collaborating With Industry … But Were Afraid To Ask” and “Harmony for Conservation”. Another new feature was the first ESBB training course entitled “The Pathology of Biobanking” which was presented by ESBB and the local organizers.
Another very important new feature was the Research Biobank of the Year Competition which was held for the first time at the Verona conference.
Local organisers for the ESBB conference included Rita Lawlor and Aldo Scarpa of ARC-NET and the University of Verona.