UPO Biobank


The biobank is an innovative tool of the Università del Piemonte Orientale for research, based on an advanced and inclusive model of scientific community in which citizens, researchers and institutions actively participate.

Each citizen, by providing samples of their blood, fluids, tissues and associated clinical data, will be able to contribute and be an integral part of the scientific process and biomedical research.

The data will be processed in compliance with the requirements of the EU/679/2016 Regulation, in a protected and safeguarded manner by means of encryption systems and access passwords to prevent reading by anyone who has not been formally authorised in advance by the data controller. At any time, the participant will be able to access the information from the research project in which he/she has been involved, and possibly request the destruction of the biological sample.




The UPO Biobank is working at the forefront of the COVID-19 emergency

The exceptional nature of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically sees Italy, and in particular Piedmont, in the front line.

In order to ensure a concrete health response to all citizens, the UPO biobank is proceeding with the collection, preparation, preservation and distribution of samples/data obtained from COVID-19 patients on the basis of a shared model that will become a reference point for research aimed at:

  1. studying the immune response to the Sars-Cov-2 virus, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. developing the scientific knowledge needed to produce new, accurate and fast diagnosis systems, vaccines and effective antiviral drugs, so that the health response for all is timely in the coming months;
  3. carry out future research related to COVID-19 and related diseases, including in the field of epidemiology and preventive medicine.

The COVID-19 biobank will be supported by an effective public information campaign, by a simplified and shared informed consent model, and by the network of biobanks throughout the country. It represents a great opportunity for research and scientific citizenship for our territory.

The COVID-19 biobank for research is a common asset, to be contributed to with awareness, responsibility and solidarity, turning the suffering of these days into a resource for all.


Aging Project and Novara Cohort Study for the study of ageing

Aging Project is the project of excellence of the Department of Translational Medicine of UPO, which aims to face the scientific and social challenge of ageing, based on four pillars: interdisciplinarity, translationality, support to research and teaching, involvement of the territory.

The Aging Project and the UPO Biobank will carry out the "Novara Cohort Study", a study that aims to investigate the ageing processes in the population of the Novara area, to identify the lifestyles that lead to healthy ageing and the risk factors associated with diseases typical of the elderly. The biological samples and data collected will be deposited in the UPO Biobank and will be made available to researchers who will study them to understand the molecular mechanisms of ageing and associated diseases, such as neurodegenerative, autoimmune, cardiovascular, metabolic and neoplastic diseases.

Legal documents

Regolamento Europeo generale sulla protezione dei dati

Autorizzazione generale al trattamento dei dati personali effettuato per scopi di ricerca scientifica 15 dicembre 2016

Autorizzazione generale al trattamento dei dati genetici

Autorizzazioni del garante


To contact the UPO Biobank write to biobanca@uniupo.it


Visit also:

European biobanks network

Italian biobanks network

Active engagement of citizens in biomedical research

All citizens, whether healthy or sick, may become actively engaged participants in the scientific process and biomedical research, in addition to reaping the benefit of its results.

By offering samples of our biological material and related clinical data, each of us can make a contribution to research aimed at the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

What is meant by ‘biological sample’?

 ‘Biological sample’ or ‘human biological material’ is a complex combination of materials ranging from cells or tissues (blood, oral mucosa cells, etc) to excretions or secretions (exhaled air, teardrops, urine, saliva) and internal organs (such as liver, placenta or kidneys), including molecular components (protein, RNA, DNA, etc) from these, taken from healthy or sick individuals.

What is a Biobank?

A biobank is a non-profit service that (fully compliant with the rights of individuals involved, and respecting all quality standards) guarantees and manages systematic collection, storage and distribution of human biological samples and related data for biomedical purposes (research, diagnosis, prevention or treatment).

The Biobank provides a public service, as a third party, to guarantee the process and objectives of collection of biological material/data for all parties concerned and society as a whole.

How a Biobank works

In the Biobank premises, from the point of entry, everything is monitored down to the last detail. The premises are equipped with electronic access controls and an alarm system that alerts staff to any potential malfunctioning, while samples and data are managed through the use of a software that guarantees both traceability and anonymity.

According to the type of material, samples can be cryopreserved in freezers that reach -80°C or special containers equipped with a system of liquid nitrogen that can take temperatures down to -198°C. Cryopreservation enables longer conservation of biological material, which must remain intact and inviolate until use.

The different types of Biobank

Biobanks are distinguished by various characteristics, two of which are fundamental: the type of biological material collected, and the purposes of sampling.

Biobanks vary, in fact, because they can collect different types of biological material (cell lines, tissues, cells, biological liquids, DNA, umbilical cords, internal organs, sperm and ova, etc) from healthy and/or sick individuals.

According to their goals, it is possible to divide biobanks into those primarily aimed at disease research (oncological, genetic, multi-specialist) and those aimed at studies of populations with particular characteristics.

The role of Biobanks in scientific research

The Biobank is an invaluable resource that allows researchers access to a quantity of biological samples and epidemiological/clinical/research data that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. These samples can be used for biomedical research with these priorities:

  • increased knowledge of risk factors for diseases, to prevent their onset
  • identification of biomarkers for early detection of disease
  • development of precision medicine and personalised treatment/care
Why participate in a Biobank project?

The scientific impact of biobanks grows exponentially with the level of collaboration between the general public, researchers and institutions. Each participant plays an essential role: citizens are both activators and recipients of research findings, the biobank preserves and protects samples and individual rights, the clinic organises and collects samples, and researchers discover new opportunities.

Being informed about the activity of the biobank, and actively engaging in such, is essential for its development, research, and use of findings.

The role of the Biobank in society

The Biobank is also a tool that actively engages individuals and the community in the debate about the purposes of scientific research.

Participating in a Biobank project helps us become more aware of the intense scientific and social revolution currently underway, influenced by the genetic and biomolecular advances in research and treatment which call for a new model of citizenship, ethics and construction of scientific knowledge – participatory, inclusive and empowering.

Freedom and scientific goals must be aligned with the necessary protection of human rights: informed consent and the rights of participants

The participant is an active player in the Biobank’s work: without his/her biological material and clinical records/data, the Biobank would not exist.

To protect the individual’s dignity and rights, his/her inclusion in research processes can take place only with explicit, freely-given and informed consent, along with the authorisation of an independent Ethical Committee and guarantor.

The participant is an active player in the process

The participant is an active player in the Biobank’s work: without his/her biological material and clinical records/data, the Biobank would not exist.

To protect the individual’s dignity and rights, his/her inclusion in research processes can take place only with explicit, freely-given and informed consent, along with the authorisation of an independent Ethical Committee and guarantor.