The facilities described on the following list provide infrastructure/platform technologies and/or collaborative networks that health and medical researchers may use as a resource to enhance and accelerate their research. The list below is broadly categorised by discipline area, to help researchers identify those they are interested in using.
Many of these facilities have been funded through Australian Government agencies such as the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR), Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS), Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in collaboration with states and territories, NGOs, philanthropic organisations and industry partners. This list is by no means exhaustive but provides a significant description of facilities, services and networks aimed at supporting the Australian research effort. Due to the dynamic nature of these entities and their funding structure, their services, costs and ability to collaborate may vary and researchers should contact them directly to ascertain appropriate access requirements and costs. NHMRC funding may be used to pay for research services if it can be demonstrated that the service is a direct cost required to achieve the goals of the NHMRC-funded research project.
Note that the information on this page will serve as a ‘living’ document and will be updated as NHMRC receives updates and information from other facilities and networks. If you are the manager of a facility or network that is not listed below, and would like to be included in this list, or would like to provide updated information, please contact Dr Wee-Ming Boon at Research.Facilities@nhmrc.gov.au at NHMRC.
1. Platform technologies, data, bioinformatics and computing
ACRF Drug Discovery Centre
Researcher access: The Centre provides a variety of services in drug discovery using a cost recovery and fee-for-service model. For enquiries, please contact Dr Greg Arndt (email@example.com).
The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) Drug Discovery Centre supports Australian drug discovery research, providing the cancer and medical research community with access to advanced technology and expertise in high-throughput chemical small molecule screening and early stage drug discovery.
Australian Genome Research Facility
Researcher access: Available to all users via each of 5 capital city locations. Standardised costs apply for routine services, while unique services and partnerships can be arranged on a case-by-case basis.
The AGRF infrastructure supports genome research and genetic discovery across the entire biological spectrum. The AGRF is a national genomic service provider network providing accredited, efficient and high quality contract genomics services to academic, applied research and commercial markets spanning biomedicine, plant and animal science, microbiology, evolutionary biology and biodiversity using cutting edge technology and expertise.
Australian Mouse Brain Mapping Consortium
Researcher access: Access to the consortium is by collaboration. For more information, please contact Prof David Reutens, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Australian Mouse Brain Mapping Consortium is a national network of facilities allowing Australian researchers to better characterise mouse models of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and stroke. Improved methods of mapping structural and functional changes in the brain of mouse models of neurological disease will be key to discovery in the neurosciences in the 21st century. The available tools are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), microscopy and sophisticated computational methods of mapping brain structure and function.
Australian Rheumatology Association Database
Researcher access: Access to database can be applied for through an Expression of Interest form on the website.
ARAD collects health information from individuals with inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis and psoriatic arthritis with the aim of determining the effectiveness and safety of new drugs used to treat inflammatory arthritis conditions. Patients and rheumatologists across Australia contribute to ARAD and is a valuable resource for patients and their clinicians when making decisions on long-term arthritis treatments.
Researcher access: Access to data can be applied for online, and data analysis, training and analytics software access can be arranged by negotiation.
BioGrid Australia Limited operates a federated data sharing platform for collaborative translational health and medical research providing a secure infrastructure that advances health research by linking privacy-protected and ethically approved data among a wide network of health collaborators. BioGrid is a non-profit organisation. BioGrid links real-time de-identified health data across institutions, jurisdictions and diseases to assist researchers and clinicians improve their research and clinical outcomes. The web-based infrastructure provides ethical access while protecting both privacy and intellectual property.
Researcher access: Access through contracted services and research collaborations. For general enquiries relating to Bioplatforms Australia please contact Andrew Gilbert: email@example.com
Bioplatforms Australia builds research capabilities and expertise in the specialist fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics. It enables Australian life science research by investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure and projects that build ‘omic’ datasets relevant to Australian scientific challenges. Infrastructure investments are hosted by an Australia-wide network of leading universities, research institutions and biotech companies which ensure broad access through contracted services and research collaborations.
Researcher access: For enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Compounds Australia is a national collaboration engine enabling drug discovery research projects across universities, research institutes and biotech industry within Australia. Compounds Australia offers a variety of services in compound management and logistics using a cost recovery and fee-for-service model.
Compounds Australia, located at the Eskitis Institute, Griffith University is a sophisticated compound management facility securely stores and curates sample libraries submitted by Australian based chemists. The facility makes these compounds available at low cost in flexible screening and assay-ready formats to academic and not-for-profit researchers. The guiding principles of Compounds Australia are to enable new collaborations between chemists and biologists and to add value to the already excellent synthetic organic and natural product chemistry in the Australasian region. Based around a unique custom-designed suite of advanced robotics and software, Compounds Australia synergises interactions between Australasian chemists, biomedical researchers and their international colleagues.
Researcher access: data.vic.gov.au is a directory of free Victorian Government data in re-usable, accessible, understandable and shareable form. For further information on data.vic.gov.au, or to provide feedback, please contact email@example.com.
The website allows researchers to access data that Victorian government departments and agencies have made available to the public online. It currently includes access to over 3,000 datasets, tools and resources. data.vic.gov.au can assist researchers in searching relevant data to inform their research. (e.g. Department of Health data may be useful to medical research).
If a dataset held by the Victorian Government is not yet available from data.vic.gov.au, the website allows for suggestions to be made online. Suggestions will be provided to the appropriate government agency and the requester will be able to track progress while the data is being located.
National Imaging Facility
Researcher access: For general enquiries related to the National Imaging Facility please contact Dr Annie Chen or Dr Michelle McCleary: firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 2007 as an integrated imaging technology-based facility, the National Imaging Facility (NIF) merges the expertise of biologists, neuroscientists, imaging researchers and clinicians, platform engineers, and computational scientists from 10 universities and research institutes, along with ANSTO. Led by the University of Queensland, the NIF network spreads across all major states of mainland Australia, providing open access to an array of world-leading imaging instrumentation and aptitudes, reaching more than 2,000 users across Australian and international research community. NIF’s unique research infrastructure includes:
- First pre-clinical MR/PET in the world.
- First two 7T MRI scanners in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Full range of complementary preclinical and clinical biomedical imaging modalities co-localised with the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL) at the Australian Synchrotron.
- Large Animal Research & Imaging Facility, housing fully serviced operating theatres with 1.5T MRI and CT which are exclusive to large animals, and incorporating fully compatible animal holding facilities.
Population Health Research Network
Researcher access: Access to the PHRN infrastructure is available by contacting the individual facilities or the PHRN Program Office.
The Population Health Research Network was established in 2009, with the support of the Australian Government (as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy), State and Territory Governments and academic institutions. It provides Australian researchers with data linkage facilities of international standard covering a diverse and rich range of health and health-related data collections across jurisdictions and sectors. It is a distributed national network which provides a range of national and regional facilities and services including:
- state and national data linkage units,
- a remote-access computing environment
- a secure file exchange service
- data linkage assistance, advice and training
Further details on PHRN and the infrastructure that it has developed may be found at www.phrn.org.au.
QIMR Berghofer’s Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics
Researcher Access: Access or service support enquires can be directed to the Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics Facility Manager on (07) 3845 3851 or email@example.com.
Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics is a fully integrated facility for translational research within QIMR Berghofer, providing GMP manufacturing facilities for translating clinical research to the bedside. Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics is TGA licensed for the manufacture of T cell therapies for clinical trials and as a testing laboratory. Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics has 13 cleanrooms available for researcher access, as well as GMP manufacturing and quality consulting services.
The Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics QC laboratory is able to provide researchers with validated microbiological and immunobiological tests for Mycoplasma, Endotoxin, Sterility, Cell Viability and Phenotyping via Flow Cytometry, as well as environmental monitoring services.
Secure Unified Research Environment
Researcher access: Registration, training and access can be arranged with access charges.
The Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE) is a remote-access computing environment that allows researchers to access and analyse linked health-related data files for approved studies in Australia. SURE has been developed by the Sax Institute as part of the Population Health Research Network (PHRN) initiative. SURE is Australia's first and only remote-access data research laboratory purpose-built for the analysis of linked, routinely collected data.
Victorian Platform Technologies Network
Researcher access: Facilities are accessible for external use, either via collaboration, or on a fee-for-service basis.
The VPTN is a network of research facilities that provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise to the biomedical, health and manufacturing technology research sector in Victoria, throughout Australia and around the world. Some of the technologies and services include bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, materials science, additive manufacturing, high performance computing, crystallography, clinical trials, imaging, flow cytometry, microscopy and animal health laboratories. There are currently 114 facilities listed. This network is supported by Bio21, Monash University and the Victorian State Government.
2. Animal and infectious disease research
Atlas of Living Australia
Researcher access: Researchers are able to search the interactive website, volunteer, share and contribute to the atlas through the website. All 40m+ records are freely available for download with most openly licenced under Creative Commons.
The Atlas of Living Australia (Atlas) aims to contain information on all the known species in Australia aggregated from a wide range of data providers: museums, herbaria, community groups, government departments, individuals and universities.
The Australian Microbial Resources Information Network (http://amrin.ala.org.au) is also hosted by the ALA. These data include information on culture collections from organisations such as PathWest Laboratory of Medicine (WA) and the Australian National Reference Laboratory in Medical Mycology. More providers will be added in the future.
Australasian Kidney Trials Network
Researcher access: Researchers may become members of the network, submit trials for review and engage with the AKTN in its research activities by contacting the network.
The Australasian Kidney Trials Network is an investigator-led clinical research organisation that works with the kidney care community to achieve world class, innovative solutions that make meaningful differences to people with kidney disease. The Network therefore designs, conducts and supports clinical trials and fosters clinical trials expertise in Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with global collaborators.
Australian Animal Health Laboratory & PC4 Zoonosis Suite
Researcher access: Collaborations can be arranged and costs can be negotiated on a case-by case basis.
CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) provides diagnostic services, enhanced surveillance and the capability to respond to emerging and exotic animal diseases, research and policy advice. In recent years AAHL has become a world leading ‘One Health’ laboratory due to the extent of work conducted on zoonotic agents. AAHL therefore plays a vital role in maintaining the health of Australia's animals, the international competitiveness of Australian agriculture and trade, the well-being of Australians and the quality of our environment. As part of AAHL, the ‘PC4 Zoonosis Suite and Bioimaging Facility’ is a shared resource dedicated to research on infectious diseases that affect the health of humans, domestic animals and wildlife. It provides advanced technology and infrastructure for scientists undertaking research that requires a laboratory environment with the highest level of biosecurity. The PC4 Zoonosis suite and Bioimaging Facility is available to facilitate research by visiting scientists from Australia or overseas, or allow researchers to work in collaboration with AAHL staff on One Health research requiring laboratories with physical containment level three (PC3) or four (PC4). AAHL also has both PC3 and PC4 Insectaries for research into vector-borne diseases and hosts a variety of training courses.
Australian Phenome Bank
Researcher access: Database searches, strain information submission and requests for strain archiving and reanimation are available through the website. Data access is free of charge, costs for archiving and re-animation are listed on costs webpage.
The Australian Phenome Bank (APB) is a non-profit repository of mouse strains used in Medical Research. The APB provides and maintains a central database of genetically modified mice held in Australia either live or as cryopreserved material. The database allows researchers to search for murine strains, housed or archived in Australia, carrying mutations in particular genes, strains with transgenic alterations and for mice with particular phenotypes. The APB is also responsible for the archiving and maintenance of frozen gamete stock, and preserving mouse strains to allow researchers to take advantage of technical and knowledge advancements in the future.
Australian Phenomics Network
Researcher access: A fee-for-service or collaborative opportunity exists .
The Australian Phenomics Network provides Australian and international researchers with mouse models for the study of human and animal disease. Their services include the creation of mouse models from embryonic stem cells, RNAi screening, ENU-mutagenesis, characterisation (pathology and genomics) and cryopreservation.
National Non-human Primate Breeding and Research Facility
Researcher access: Services can be accessed as Monash staff or non-Monash clients under a standardised fee structure.
The National Non-Human Primate Breeding and Research Facility, hosted by Monash University, is part of Monash University’s Bioplatform. In particular, the Monash Animal Research Platform that provides animal services ranging from agistment to IVF technologies. It ensures that the Australian community has access to macaque monkeys and marmosets to carry out research under the highest quality and animal welfare standards. Additionally the colonies will provide a key resource in any national response to pandemics and bioterrorism for vaccine and response development.
3. Biobanking and clinical services
Australasian Biospecimen Network — Oncology
Researcher access: Researchers are able to access the database free of charge.
ABN-Oncology is a national network of biobanks established to collect, process and disseminate biospecimens for research, ranging from basic laboratory projects through to clinical trials. The network leverages collection of relatively common tumour types including colorectal and breast cancer, and strategically targets specific tumour types such as mesothelioma and rare paediatric tumours that can only be collected in substantial numbers through the formation of such a network. The consortium will provide a conduit for researchers to gain access to ethically consented, high quality clinically-annotated biospecimens and data.
Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Tissue Bank
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to tissues through the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group. Please contact the ALLG Tissue Bank Manager on (07) 3176 5835 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Tissue Bank is a temperature controlled facility for storing clinical tissue samples to be used in approved research. The samples are human tissue samples collected from the blood, bone marrow and other body organs of patients across Australia with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or related blood disorders. All the tissues are collected with the informed consent of the patients. A central secure database is maintained to facilitate rapid tracking of the resources within the Bank and record sample use. The central repository gives researchers access to accumulated tissue samples of blood disorders and enables research groups to conduct larger scale studies.
Australasian Sleep Trials Network
Researcher access: Researchers are encouraged to contact the Network manager or members of its Executive Committee to discuss their ideas and projects.
The Network is an inclusive consortium that facilitates multicentre clinical trials that will have major international impact on sleep health. The Network provides expertise, common infrastructure and resources to enable researchers to develop and implement competitive, high quality trials. Network members can participate in standardised large scale data collection initiatives and access low cost, customised data management platforms.
Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre
Researcher access: ANZIC-RC services are available to all Australian and New Zealand intensive care clinicians, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Applications can be made through its ‘Request for Assistance’ process.
The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) is a bi-national intensive care clinical research methods centre. The ANZIC-RC assists with the design, funding and execution of clinical trials. Advice and assistance is available from experienced intensive care unit (ICU) researchers, data management/bio-statistical consultants, project managers, epidemiologists and health economists. The Centre coordinates and conducts comprehensive research programs including observational studies; feasibility projects; and large multi-centred, interventional, randomised controlled trials. It has the ability to support small, medium and large clinical trials.
Australian Brain Bank Network
Researcher access: Access to tissues can be applied for through the following website: http://www.austbrainbank.org.au/tissue-request.html
The Australian Brain Bank Network (ABBN) is a collaboration between brain banks across Australia to optimise collection, handling and distribution of post mortem human brain tissue and related samples for the conduct of research into brain and mind disorders. The ABBN also provides a neuropathological diagnostic service (excluding the NSW Brain Bank Network), and supports education for medical and allied health professionals.
Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank (ABCTB)
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to the tissues and data, via an on-line application process and fees are based on a cost-recovery model.
The ABCTB consists of stored samples of blood, derivatives (including DNA), snap frozen and formalin fixed tissue of tumour and adjacent normal tissue, and digital tumour images from newly diagnosed breast cancer cases of donors recruited in NSW, ACT, QLD and WA, together with accurate, prospectively tracked clinical data, including treatment and follow-up data, on each specimen. The ABCTB is headquartered at the Westmead Millennium Institute, NSW and collection centres throughout Australia all follow standardised world best practice protocols.
Australian Childhood Diabetes DNA Repository
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to the samples through the ACDDR.
The Australian Childhood Diabetes DNA Repository (ACDDR) collected DNA samples from over 2,500 Australian families affected by Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. DNA was extracted from saliva samples donated by both biological parents and the child using standard protocols. This repository was created to enable researchers with relevant ethics approvals to access DNA samples for use in Type 1 diabetes research.
Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL)
Researcher access: AIBL data or samples are subject to a formal Expression of Interest process.
Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL) is one of the largest, well-characterised, longitudinal cohorts of healthy ageing and cognitive decline in the world. AIBL focuses on the development of dementia and the identification of factors influencing its timing and occurrence. Innovative biomarker and imaging technologies are utilised to study the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease.
The AIBL cohort comprises more than 1100 subjects, all aged over 60 at recruitment. Every 18 months, all volunteers undergo extensive psychological and cognitive assessments, examination of lifestyle factors and blood is taken for comprehensive clinical chemistry evaluations. Blood samples are stored in liquid nitrogen for research that aims to identify biomarkers that can be used to diagnose and monitor individuals who will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Most subjects also undergo brain imaging (MRI and PET) in each cycle.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry
Researcher access: Researchers may submit their trials to the ANZCTR via their website.
The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (the ANZCTR) is an on-line registry of clinical trials being undertaken in Australia, New Zealand and worldwide. The ANZCTR has been established at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, with funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and New Zealand Health Research Council. It accepts trials for registration from all countries and from the full spectrum of therapeutic areas including trials of pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, preventive measures, lifestyle, devices, rehabilitation strategies and complementary therapies.
Australian Ovarian Cancer Study
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to the samples and data through the AOCS management committee and are merit-based.
The Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS) is a collaborative research program between clinicians, scientists, patients and advocacy groups aimed at improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of ovarian cancer. It is a uniquely powerful resource for ovarian cancer research comprised of bio-specimens, clinical and epidemiological data and is made possible through the collaborative spirit of clinicians, nurses, pathologists and scientists throughout Australia and through the willingness of thousands of women to participate in the program. AOCS was initiated with large-scale funding from the Ovarian Cancer Research Program of the United States Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and has also been supported by Australian Cancer Councils, Cancer Australia, and the NHMRC.
Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit
Researcher access: Groups of researchers or clinicians may apply to conduct national surveillance studies on rare conditions. Acceptances will be based on merit. Applications from practising paediatricians are encouraged.
The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) is a national research resource, established in 1993 to facilitate active surveillance of rare childhood diseases, rare complications of diseases or rare adverse effects of treatment. It is based at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, NSW, and is closely affiliated with the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health in Sydney Medical School, the University of Sydney, and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. The APSU leads a collaborative, national network of organisations to enable the conduct and dissemination of research on serious child health conditions.
Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource (APCB)
Researcher access: Researchers may apply to the APCB for access to the bio-resource under a cost-recovery model.
The APCB provides a unique quality assured facility for the collection, storage and access to tissue to support research into the treatment and improved clinical management of men with prostate cancer. The APCB manages four federated nodes located in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
The APCB provides a significant number of unique services which include:
- Fresh tissue (cancer/benign cores) from radical prostatectomies
- Paraffin embedded prostate tissue
- Bloods (buffy coat cells/serum/plasma)
- Tissue microarrays
- Boutique collections of aggressive disease
- Fresh prostate cancer samples for ex-vivo culture
- Clinically relevant pathological annotated data
To date the APCB has collected more than 125,000 samples from over 4,800 men and has distributed more than 5,500 samples to researchers. The APCB is firmly embedded in translational prostate cancer research within Australia and importantly has provided resources to build and contribute Australasian cohorts in large scale genetic, genomic and proteomic biomarkers studies. This includes the following research programs; PRACTICAL GWAS, Irish Biomarker Consortium and the Movember GAP initiative. The APCB also provides expertise and infrastructure to bank samples from the RAVES clinical trial.
Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank
Researcher access: The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank will consider applications from Australian and international researchers and commercial entities to access data, samples, and/or participants. Costs of access are based on a cost-recovery model, and are available on the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank website.
Schizophrenia research is constrained by difficulty in achieving large samples for research into the causal role of genetic factors in this complex disease. The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank facilitates scientific research into schizophrenia by collecting, storing and providing comprehensive, cross-referenced clinical, neuropsychological, genetic and brain imaging data from people with schizophrenia and healthy controls. The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank also recruits volunteers to participate in specific schizophrenia research projects.
Australian Twin Registry
Researcher access: The ATR is open to researchers around Australia. Researchers are encouraged to contact the ATR to discuss models and benefits of involving twins in their research. Costs will be dependent on individual requirements.
Twin research is uniquely valuable for understanding how genes, behaviour, and environment affect everyone’s health and wellbeing. By controlling for age and gender with a shared environment, twins are ideal for control, intervention and longitudinal studies. The Australian Twin Registry (ATR) is a national registry of more than 35,000 identical and non-identical twin pairs of all ages from around Australia who are willing to consider participating in health related research.
The ATR offers a cost effective means of getting twin participants for researchers. To find out how twins can help you answer your research questions and to understand more about twin methodology, go to http://www.twins.org.au/researchers, email email@example.com or free call 1800 037 021.
Researcher Access: All services except the Catalogue Deposit service are provided on a cost-recovery basis; the Catalogue Deposit service is provided free-of-charge.
- Catalogue Deposit - Secure storage facility for novel locally developed cell lines under Material Deposit Agreements for quality control, banking and distribution.
- Secure Storage Deposit - Clients store their own cell lines in the CellBank Australia liquid nitrogen storage tanks indefinitely under Secure Storage Agreements, as ‘back-up”.
- Patent Deposit - CellBank Australia is recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organisation as an International Depository Authority. Those who seek a patent on human or animal cell lines or hybridomas are required to deposit these in a recognized repository such as CellBank Australia. They are stored for a minimum of 30 years and provide access as required to authorized individuals associated with the patent examination process.
Custom Culture Services
- Culture and Return - Cell lines are subjected to quality control prior to culture in clean room conditions and frozen into a master and working bank of the cell line.
Cell Line Sales and Distribution Service
- ECACC Cell Lines - CellBank Australia distributes >1,750 quality controlled cell lines from the European Collection of Cell Cultures to researchers under Material Transfer Agreements.
- CellBank Australia Cell Lines - CellBank Australia is building a novel collection of quality controlled Australian cell lines and distributes these under Material Transfer Agreements.
Cell Testing Services
- Authentication Testing - Clients submit samples of their cell line for STR profiling (human cell lines) or DNA barcoding (nonhuman) in order to verify the identity of the cell line.
- Mycoplasma Testing - Clients submit samples of their cell line for biochemical analysis and PCR in order to detect contamination with Mycoplasma.
- CellBank Australia promotes best-practice cell culture via regular e-newsletters, seminars and trade displays.
Genetic Repositories Australia
Researcher access: Researchers may apply to the repository for genetic material and cell lines under a cost-recovery model. Contact facility manager, Steve Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 9399 1668
Genetic Repositories Australia (GRA) is a national genetic repository for DNA & cell lines derived from appropriately consented disease-specific and population-based studies. GRA provides researchers with a centralised national facility for the processing, long-term secure storage and distribution of human genetic samples (DNA & cell lines). This includes the production & provision of immortalised lymphoblast cell lines & DNA samples. Bio-sample processing, fractionation and storage are also available. Other services include:
- Study design, sample management and collection
- Sample processing (blood & saliva) and distribution (nationally & internationally)
- Automated DNA extraction & downstream Preparation
- Production of immortalised cell lines (whole blood & cryopreserved lymphocytes)
- Long-term secure storage & distribution of human genetic samples (DNA & LCLs)
- Support for projects consented to allow sample sharing and fee-for-service work
Gynaecological Oncology Biobank at Westmead
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to the Gynaecological Oncology Biobank at Westmead (GynBiobank) by downloading the application form from the website or by contacting the GynBiobank Manager on email@example.com. Fees are based on a cost-recovery model.
The GynBiobank is part of the Australasian Biospecimen Network (ABN), an organisation whose members work together to promote transfer of knowledge between banks and facilitate the collection and access of biospecimens for research.
The GynBiobank aims to provide high quality, ethically obtained biospecimens from women with a gynaecological disease to support research. The GynBiobank supports research into cancer origin, cancer diagnosis, improved treatments, and all work leading to better outcomes for women.
The GynBiobank provides a number of products and services. These include:
- fresh frozen tissue and its derivatives (DNA and RNA)
- formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissue
- blood and its derivatives (plasma and genomic DNA).
- tissue microarrays
- detailed clinical data
The GynBiobank has been supported by grants from the NHMRC and Cancer Institute NSW.
KConFab — Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer
Researcher access: Researchers and organisations may apply to kConFab for data and biospecimens, or to become members. The costs recovery schedule is available on the kConFab website.
kConFab brings together geneticists, clinicians, surgeons, genetic counsellors, psychosocial researchers, pathologists and epidemiologists from all over Australia, New Zealand and Internationally who believe that the study of the causes and consequences of familial predisposition to breast cancer can be understood only by a concerted research effort at both the basic and clinical levels. Genetic, epidemiological, medical and psychosocial data are collected and stored in a de-identified fashion in a central relational database. Biospecimens (cell lines, formalin-fixed paraffin embedded material, frozen and fresh) are also collected from participants and family members and are used to characterise germ-line mutations in predisposing genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 and to search for new cancer genes. kConFab provides a resource upon which researchers can access data and biospecimens for use in peer-reviewed, ethically-approved funded research projects on familial aspects of breast cancer. At present, kConFab is supplying biological specimens and data to more than 150 research projects worldwide.
Paediatric Trials Network Australia / WebSpirit Database
Researcher access: Activation of a database for individual trials can be applied for by contacting the PTNA Project Officer or WebSpirit Database Manager through the PTNA website.
The PTNA’s WebSpirit database management system was funded through Therapeutic Innovations Australia to provide an affordable, regulatory compliant option for data management to Australian paediatric clinical trial teams running investigator initiated clinical trials. WebSpirit is web-based and provides convenient but secure access for clinical trial data entry, management, reporting and export for analysis. Investigators from PTNA member institutions are able to utilise the system via a per project fee for use that is affordable comparative to other regulatory compliant data management systems. Investigators from non-PTNA member institutions can utilise the system via higher per project fees that remain affordable comparative to other systems. Network member institutions and researchers are committed to the promotion of high quality and efficient multi-centre collaborative clinical trials and optimising effective delivery of health care by influencing policies, procedures and translation of research into practice.
South Australian Cancer Research Biobank (SACRB)
Researcher access: Researchers may apply for access to biospecimens through the SACRB.
The SACRB aims to provide high quality, ethically obtained biospecimens from patients with haematological disease and solid tumours. The SACRB collects and stores clinical data and biospecimens, including but not limited to bone marrow, blood, hair follicles, buccal swabs and solid tumours. These biospecimens are made available to cancer researchers, and used in approved research to improve our understanding of the causes of blood and solid cancers, and to help develop better treatments for patients.
The SACRB is based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) with the majority of the Biobank holdings from patients treated at the RAH/SA Pathology, Haematology. The SACRB now collects biospecimens from patients treated at multiple sites. All biospecimens are collected with informed patient consent.
The SACRB is a sequential Biobank with the biospecimens collected from patients including those who did not receive treatment and those who did not enrol in clinical trials. They should be a more accurate reflection of the full disease spectrum. Increased genetic annotation has resulted in more detailed tumour sub classification, highlighting the need to increase the patient cohort size to enable meaningful correlative studies. A secure database is used to maintain and maximise the efficiency of operations; this includes a flexible configurable workflow for a wide range of laboratory processes from specimen collection, receipt, processing, and inventory storage location management to distribution of biospecimens.
Therapeutic Innovation Australia
Researcher access: Access to TIA’s consortium of facilities can be directly arranged with the individual capabilities as listed on the website. Contact Dr Stewart Hay, CEO of TIA (03 9670 7018 or 0428 658 282) for further information.
TIA provides subsidised access to translational health research infrastructure, general product development advice and can direct researchers to relevant service providers. TIA also provides access to capabilities in the area of biopharmaceuticals, small molecules and cell therapies, enabling researchers to be able to move from the laboratory, through to preclinical testing and into the clinical trial environment.
Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group
Researcher access: Researchers may become members of TROG Cancer Research as either a full member or an associate member and access networking and collaborative opportunities through TROG.
The Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group is an experienced research group conducting cancer clinical trials involving radiotherapy (RT) in order to improve cure rates, quality of life and to reduce side-effects of treatment. TROG provides the infrastructure and governance for national and international collaborations to help ensure the development of more effective treatments for cancer. Through these collaborative efforts, involving more than 60 cancer treatment centres across Australia and New Zealand, as well as contributing centres internationally, TROG has launched over 50 cancer research trials and achieved significant improvements in patient care and outcomes.
Victorian Cancer Biobank
Researcher access: Applications can be made by researchers. Nominal fees apply.
The Victorian Cancer Biobank is a not-for-profit consortium of tissue banks, supported by the Victorian Government through the Victorian Cancer Agency. Its purpose is to provide high quality, ethically obtained biospecimens to support research that will eventually lead to improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment. Since operations commenced in 2006, more than 30,000 Victorians undergoing surgery for cancer or cancer related illness have donated blood and surplus tissue to the Biobank. Applications have been received from over 160 cancer research groups located within Australia and overseas, and more than 1 million biospecimens prepared from donated blood and tissues have been supplied nationally and internationally.
Wesley Medical Research Tissue Bank
Researcher access: Requested samples can be sourced from the current banked samples (over 30 000) or through prospective collection to meet researchers’ specific needs. The WMR Tissue Bank is not-for-profit and only charges a small fee to researchers to cover the cost of consumables and staff time. Please contact the WMR Tissue Bank Manager Emma Raymond at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (07) 3721 1519.
The Wesley Medical Research (WMR) Tissue Bank was founded in 2007 and is a purpose-built research facility providing a diverse collection of ethically obtained blood and tissue specimens for biomedical research. The WMR Tissue Bank is the largest in the state of Queensland and in 2015 has expanded its operations and now houses Queensland’s Brain Tumour Bank, the Australian Autism Biobank & the Australasian Skin Cancer Tissue Bank. The Tissue Bank is open-access, allowing both national and international researchers to access samples, subject to approval by the WMR Tissue Bank Management Committee. As an unaffiliated tissue bank, there is no requirement for WMR to be involved in the research. Over 50 research projects Australia-wide have utilised the WMR Tissue Bank’s samples and services.
Western Australian DNA Bank
Researcher access: Access to the biobank is provided via application through the website or by contacting the manager, Dr Tegan McNab (email@example.com).
The Western Australian DNA Bank (WADB) is a national processing and long-term secure storage facility for biospecimens (including DNA, RNA, serum and plasma) that have been collected from donors who have participated voluntarily in one or more medical research projects. The WADB itself does not recruit these donors, but processes and stores biospecimens for medical researchers who have collected samples from consenting donors.
4. Specialised or advanced technologies
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Researcher access: Access to these facilities is by application to ANSTO and is merit-based. Access to the Synchrotron can be applied to directly at the Australian Synchrotron website.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is an agency within the portfolio of the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Climate Change, Research and Tertiary Education. ANSTO is responsible for delivering specialised advice, scientific services and products to government, industry, academia and other research organisations. The following facilities are available to health and medical researchers as outlined below.
Synchrotrons produce intense beams of light ‘synchronised’ by the application of strong magnetic fields. The Australian Synchrotron is used to investigate the macro and molecular structure of materials ranging from human tissue to plants to metals and more, with a level of detail, speed and accuracy, not possible with other techniques. NHMRC has contributed to the funding of the Imaging and Medical Beamline that is now operational. Applications for beam time are accepted three times annually. All applications are subject to peer-review: review and ranking by a specialist committee. Health and medical researchers may apply to access this facility.
OPAL Reactor and Bragg Institute
The OPAL reactor is used to produce large quantities of radioisotopes for medical and industrial uses. A suite of neutron beam instruments are also available at the Bragg Institute, and can be accessed for medical and industrial purposes.
Camperdown Cyclotron Facility
The National Imaging Facility Research Cyclotron is Australia's first cyclotron dedicated to biomedical research and allows researchers to make potentially profound discoveries about molecules for health and medical research.
Centre for Accelerator Science
Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and ion beam analysis (IBA) facilities are available at this unit. A diverse range of activities in the fields of materials analysis, biological and environmental studies, as well as basic nuclear physics research are conducted at this centre.
National Deuteration Facility
This facility produces deuterated molecules for research purposes, provides expertise for purification and characterisation of deuterated biomolecules.
Four complementary national facilities: the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, the National Deuteration Facility, the National Imaging Facility and the Australian Synchrotron are established for research into the detailed structure and functioning of materials and biological systems.