Minister and European Union representatives spoke at the CELSPAC biobank's opening ceremony

On the occasion of the International Conference on Research Infrastructures, ICRI 2022, RECETOX officially opened the CELSPAC biobank. The new facility allows scientists to store more than two million biological samples and examine the effects of chemicals on the human body in close detail. Both the Minister of Education, Youth & Sports Vladimír Baláš and Jens Habermann, the Director of BBMRI-ERIC, the European Research Infrastructure for Biobanking spoke highly about the CELSPAC biobank as a project that responds to the challenges of today's world.

20 Oct 2022 Marie Hošťálková

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The CELSPAC biobank grand opening was held on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at RECETOX – Masaryk University. The special event coincided with the ICRI 2022 conference. The biobank stores biological material for research and validation of new diagnostic methods. The need to assess the environmental impact on human health has grown significantly in the last decade. Thanks to the CELSPAC biobank, scientists can study the effects of the environment on human health even more comprehensively than before. It also enables the preservation of samples from the long-term Brno population study CELSPAC, which has been mapping the health of Brno residents since the 1990s.

Although the biobank has been operating since 2020, the official opening was repeatedly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the event, RECETOX Director, Jana Klánová, gave a tour of the CELSPAC biobank to Vladimír Balaš (Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports), Anna Panagopoulou (Director of the European Research Area and Innovation), Jens Habermann (Director General of BBMRI-ERIC, the European Biobanking Research Infrastructure) and Martin Bareš (Rector of Masaryk University). Together with other political, scientific, and university life representatives, they visited not only the biobank but also the laboratories belonging to it, where the laboratories process samples for preservation.

Kateřina Šebková (Director of the National Centre for Toxic Substances) moderated the gala event and guided speakers through the opening ceremony in the university café "Lávka." Minister Vladimír Baláš was the first to give his opening speech: "It is great to be in Brno. It is great to be in a city where scientific ideas and visions combine with the diligence of local highly qualified scientists and projects with an international scope. The CELSPAC Biobank is another one." Also, international guests Anna Panagopoulou and Jens Habermann wished scientists many successful years in the future full of excellent research and dedication. Rector Martin Bareše added: "Humanity is facing challenges that have not been around for centuries, but great things are still happening. Thanks to scientific projects with an international reach, we are succeeding in connecting the world's universities, scientists, politicians, and communities, and we should not forget that." Director Jana Klánová concluded the gala evening by saying: "We have great people in Brno who are willing to work with scientists. Many thanks to Masaryk University, ministries, European institutions, and the City of Brno, but especially to the participants of our population studies because without them, there would be no biobank." After the opening ceremony, two more biobank tours took place.

The CELSPAC Biobank is part of the open-access research infrastructure. It is available not only to the RECETOX center but also to Masaryk University and external scientists from across the globe. The construction of the biobank and other scientific facilities was funded by the Operational Programme Research, Development, and Education.

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