UCC opens landmark biobank facility with INFANT

19 Aug 2016

A new biobank at University College Cork (UCC) has been built to help it and the INFANT centre improve the curation and protection of biological samples.

The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) has opened a landmark new biobank facility in UCC, positioning both facilities at the “forefront of biobanking internationally”.

The facility was created thanks to a €355,000 award from Science Foundation Ireland as part of an infrastructure initiative.


INFANT already works with Cork University Maternity Hospital, with its development of a burgeoning and rapidly-expanding collection of samples – relevant to mothers and babies – potentially improving the health and wellbeing of thousands of people in the future.

The new facility will further INFANT’s mission to improve future health outcomes for mothers and their babies as these samples could hold the key to medical problems that have affected pregnant women and their babies for centuries.

“Biobanks like this allow us to explore large amounts of data and use the results to reduce and eventually prevent life-threatening complications in pregnancy and early life,” said Professor Louise Kenny, founding director of INFANT, and speaker at Inspirefest last year.

“That is what we are working towards, saving the lives of mothers and their babies.”

Kenny’s success is such that in 2015 she was credited by Irish science educational show The Science Squad, with INFANT having won a major award from the American Heart Association (AHA) for its work last September.

Professor Anita Maguire, VP for research and innovation at UCC, lauded the new site as a “key element” of the general research environment “which will impact locally and nationally”.

“The foresight of SFI in providing funding for this project, and the stakeholders from within UCC who have focused on bringing this project about, have created an environment that will allow future generations of young researchers to benefit from this facility,” she said.

“I am sure that, in time, developing infrastructures such as this will be regarded as one of the most strategically important investments in Ireland’s research system.”

Main pregnancy image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic