CUBE: Copenhagen University's Biobank for Experimental Research
Our vision is to make a dynamic repository of high-quality well documented biological samples facilitating new collaborations between experimental researchers and analysts.
CUBE is intended to establish contact with three groups of researchers, i.e.:
- Large study entities who wish to join CUBE
- Researchers from other study groups who wish to store samples from their studies
- Researchers who wish to retrieve and analyse samples from CUBE.
CUBE is owned by the University of Copenhagen and CUBE is protected as a registered name. CUBE has been initiated by Lars O. Dragsted from the UNIK and the OPUS study groups and by Inge Tarnow and Annemarie Thuri Kristensen from the SHARE study group.
CUBE has been set up to facilitate exploration of our current research questions by increasing the data output from a given experiment qualitatively and quantitatively. New analytical technologies evolve all the time, particularly in the omics area, making it possible to profile genes, epigenetics, proteins, and metabolites and thereby to explore further the differences between the treatment groups in experimental research.
Quite many experiments could benefit from such explorative approaches in order to supplement the hypotheses addressed with additional and more open questions. Such an approach is particularly helpful in order to evolve improved or even new hypothesis, thereby helping to make faster progress in experimental research.
Copenhagen University Biobank for Experimental research (CUBE) is a biobank initiative established as an coordinated action by three research groups representing large integrated studies, "Food-Pharma & Fitness for health and disease" (UNIK initiative), OPUS ("Optimal trivsel, udvikling og sundhed for danske børn gennem en sund ny nordisk kost"), and SHARE ("Synergy in Human and Animal Research").
Additional participating groups of studies may be added at any time and the initiative is foreseen to expand rapidly. For information on how to join CUBE please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The financial support to start out a biobank for experimental research was obtained by the Faculty of LIFE Sciences to initiate SHARE and from the University of Copenhagen to initiate UNIK. Subsequent external funding has been obtained by all three study groups.
CUBE is a common biobank facility for larger study entities and Departments at the University of Copenhagen. CUBE forms a shell to secure uniform sample handling, storage and retrieval for the benefit of all researchers within the groups. The organisational structure for CUBE can be seen in figure 1.
CUBE has a Coordination Committee to assure that the common facilities can function. This Coordination Committee consists of a member from each integrated study appointed by the Executive Committees. The Coordination Committee appoints an administrator who is responsible for the economy and a daily leader who is responsible for the daily management of CUBE.
Each integrated study has their own Executive Committees above CUBE who decides on all scientific matters pertaining to their own research.
CUBE has an External Committee with members appointed by the deans of the participating faculties of University of Copenhagen who may oversee that financial and maintenance issues are properly dealt with by the administrator and daily leader of CUBE. The External Committee also settles any disputes within the organization.
CUBE uses the Sapphire Biobanking solution offered by LabVantage and the solution has been implemented by Software Point. This solution offers web-based access to the database so that the researchers can browse the samples available (Figure 2).
Important note: The software only complies with Internet Explorer version 6+ as webbrowser.
Principal investigators (PIs) who are ‘Sample owners' can upload additional information regarding their own studies and experiments such as protocols, overview of categories of data and metadata (diet, anthropometrics metabolism, blood parameters etc), error lists, published papers or reports as well as change the status off their experiments.
The software has not been set up to form a formal LIMS system and analytical data on samples will only be available to the extent that the PIs have uploaded such information. We intend to work on data sharing and data on samples obtained from the biobank must be shared after a 2 year lag period through the Danish State Archives.
List of terms/descriptions and abbreviations commonly used on the CUBE homepage:
CUBE: Copenhagen University Biobank for Experimental research.
Custodial Domain: Internal departments of CUBE are known as Custodial Domains.
Study: Any given Study under one of the Custodial Domains, e.g. a PhD project. A Study can contain several experiments.
Experiment: A sample generating activity under a Study.
PI: Principal Investigator, who may have deposited samples in CUBE.
Sample owner: A researcher usually the PI, who has deposited samples in CUBE.
Researcher / Guest: Any researcher based in an organisation interested in samples deposited in CUBE for a non-commercial objective.