All diseases develop as a result of the interplay between genes and environment. The aim of medical research is to discover causes of disease, and disentangle disease mechanisms. Internationally, a number of large scale projects to study genes, environmen t and health have been initiated in the wake of the human genome project. Ideally, such large scale projects should include information from (1) health registries and population based cohorts recording risk factors and diseases, (2) clinical studies with in-depth characterization of disease, and (3) biological samples derived both from the health services and the general population. Biobanks are a key element in an infrastructure for such research.
We propose to develop the biobank at the Norwegian insti tute of public health by investing in automated storage and retrieval systems, and offer state-of-the-art biobanking services to the Norwegian medical research communinity.
Biobank Norway builds on Biobanks for health in Norway (Biohealth) which is a nat ional network of population-based health studies and biobanks, funded by the FUGE/RCN from 2002-2011. Biohealth has 5 partners: the University of Tromsø, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the University o f Oslo, and the Norwegian institute of public health (NIPH). The partners in Biohealth will expand end enrich the existing network though collaborations with clinical biobanks and registries, and with basic medical sciences. We have recently developed our collaborations with the regional health authorities and university hospitals in Norway and aim to merge the biobank activities in Biohealth with the clinically based research biobanks to develop Biobank Norway.
The infrastructural enhancements fit well w ith international developments in biobanking both in Europe (BBMRI, PHOEBE) and globally (P3G), in which BioHealth is engaged.