IHVN H3 African Biorespository (I-HAB) Initiative

Principal Investigator: Alash'le G Abimiku

Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, NIgeria

Scientific Description:The proposed IHVN H3Africa Biorepository (I-HAB) initiative is directed by Dr. Alash’le Abimiku, a highly experienced African laboratory scientist with two decades of research and repository experience in Africa, and the Principal Investigator of the current proposal. The goal of Phase I implementation is to: Advance the capacity of the IHVN Biorepository to achieve International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) best practices required for Phase II implementation. To achieve the Phase I goal the I-HAB partners with the Coriell Institute to implement three Specific Aims: 1) Assessment of current practice and identify strengths and gaps; 2) Upgrade repository practice and infrastructure; 3) Conduct pilot Phase II implementation. This two year Phase I process engages an iterative quality assessment-based interaction between experienced African scientists and technicians at IHVN and their counterparts from Coriell Institute who provide objective assessment, interactive didactic and mentored capacity building to instill ISBER best practices for Phase II implementation drawing upon Coriell proven models. The goal of Phase II is to: Expand the capacity of the I-HAB to support multiple H3Africa investigators to conduct high quality genomics and translational research in Africa using well processed, preserved and quality controlled and redundantly protected human biological samples accessible to the H3Africa and larger research community. To achieve the 5 year Phase II goals the I-HAB targets 5 Specific Aims: 1) Implement a high quality biorepository of primary human biologic samples; 2) Develop, implement, manage and support robust cloud computing based bioinformatics tool to support biorepository capacity; 3) Establish administrative governance and Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures and sustainable funding strategies; 4) Conduct short, medium and long term training and mentoring of staff on Biorepository and Biobanking Sciences; 5) Integrate best practices in biobanking and biorepository ethics. This 5 year plan implements a staged expansion of staffing and infrastructure to support multiple African genomic research partners including Dr. Clement Adebamowo, an African scientist also at the IHVN who served as the Principal Investigator of the African Phase I HapMap Project and is a pioneering leader in genomic research and in addressing the ethical challenges of genomic research on the African Continent on the Continent. I-HAB will provide reliable sample processing support, secure shipping, rapid accession and documentation of sample quality, accessible information on clinical and epidemiological data and sample quantity and quality, reliable retrieval and proactive facilitation of collaboration to achieve best science and sustainable practice and funding. Continuous quality improvement for reliable repository function and ongoing feedback from end users fosters trust in service delivery and product quality.

Lay Description: This grant supports a two-year pilot effort to establish an H3Africa biorepository that will receive, store, and distribute biological research samples obtained in the H3Africa Initiative. This H3Africa pilot biorepository is directed by Dr. Alash’le Abimiku, of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, in partnership with the Corielle Institute for Biomedical Research in the US. During the pilot phase, the biorepository will assess its current practices to identify strengths and weaknesses, upgrade repository practices and infrastructure to meet the needs of the H3Africa Initiative, advocate for host government and community support, and conduct implementation and quality control tests that will allow it to scale up by the end of the pilot period. At that point, the biorepository’s progress will be reviewed and, if the IHVN group is found to have made sufficient progress, it will be scaled up to a full-scale H3Africa biorepository and funded for an additional five years. The goals of the full-scale biorepository will be to operate at international standards that enable to receive and distribute samples from and to investigators in Africa, and eventually beyond. In doing so, the biorepository will need to develop a high quality collection and storage of primary human biological samples obtained from the H3Africa research projects; develop, implement, manage and support computer tools to support biorepository functions; establish effective administrative governance and Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures; conduct training and establish best practices in biobanking and biorepository ethics.