Qatar Biobank, a Qatar Foundation (QF) initiative, will host the International Biobanking Conference 2019 from March 25-27 with the participation of internationally renowned health practitioners and biomedical experts.
The conference, taking place at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, is under the theme of ‘Quality Matters: A Global Discussion in Qatar’ and will discuss quality in the global biobanking sector. 
The event will bring together local and international experts on biobanking and personalised medicine, scientists, researchers, and medical practitioners. 
The conference was announced by Qatar Biobank director Dr Nahla Afifi at a media roundtable on Monday. QF's Research, Development, and Innovation vice-president Dr Richard O’Kennedy, and official telecommunications sponsor Ooredoo's community and public relations director Manar Khalifa al-Muraikhi, were also present.
Al-Muraikhi said the event is an integral part of progressive, developmental healthcare in Qatar, the region and globally. 
“We expect the conference to offer an extremely valuable contribution to the field of biobanking, genomics and personalised medicine and we look forward to the role it will play in furthering this vital field in healthcare both in Qatar and the Gulf region and all around the world,” she added.
Held in partnership with the European and Middle Eastern Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking, the conference is supported by BBMRI-ERIC, a European research infrastructure for biobanking, and the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories. 
Participants will also have the chance to discuss the role of biobanks in healthcare, the importance of population biobanks, the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence in medical research, and the role of international collaborations in improving biobanking. 
Dr O’Kennedy, will deliver the opening remarks at the conference, highlighting the incredible progress Qatar has made in enhancing its scientific research landscape. 
Dr Jim Vaught, chief of the Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch at the US National Cancer Institute, will deliver a keynote address on the first day of the conference. His talk will shed light on the importance of quality management for international biobanking collaborations. 
Dr Asmaa al-Thani, board vice chairperson of Qatar Biobank and chairperson of Qatar Genome Programme Committee, will take part in a high-level panel discussion on the role that population-based biobanks play in understanding genetic disorders, and the effect of environmental changes on populations. 
Prof Zhengming Chen, lead principal investigator at China Kadoorie Biobank – one of the world’s largest blood-based prospective studies will highlight the importance of population biobanks for a healthcare system. Dr Ahmed Elmagarmid, executive director of Qatar Computing Research Institute, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, will deliver a presentation about the use of technologies in medical research.

More test from April

Qatar Biobank will add Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Cognitive Function Testing from April in addition to the existing tests, it was announced Monday.
“We are working with radiologists at Sidra Hospital and Hamad Medical Corporation who will review any scans identified with an abnormal finding,” said Qatar Biobank director Dr Nahla Afifi.
Qatar Biobank recently welcomed 20,000th participant and aims to recruit 60,000 participants from across Qatar to take part in its medical research initiative. 
“The samples collected from Biobank are really important towards the goal of precision medicine in Qatar. Moreover, it can also have a global impact because it will lead to new developments particularly in the region. Research carried out in Qatar is world-class and it is second to none,” stated QF's Research, Development, and Innovation vice-president Dr Richard O’Kennedy.
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