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Tales from the Tissue Bank

Interview with Parisa Naeem

How long have you been at the University of Bradford? I joined the University of Bradford in 2018 as an international student in Skin Sciences and Regenerative medicine (MSc). After completion of my MSc degree, I got enrolled in a three-year MD (Doctorate in Medicine) program that was completed in mid-2022.

Tell us a little about your career to date. After graduating from medical school, I worked for a few years in internal medicine and then joined a team of skin care consultants and continued to work in dermatology for a few more years. Besides medicine, I have worked as a lecturer in anatomy and biochemistry and a research assistant in a genotoxicology lab. In the UK, I am currently working as the manager of Ethical Tissue, a licenced tissue bank at the University of Bradford.

What excites you about biobanking? Biobanking is a fascinating sector in biomedical research enabling access to a large pool of high-quality human samples and associated data. It involves collecting samples of bodily fluid (blood, urine, etc) or tissue for the purpose of research. Research done on these samples helps us improve our knowledge of the human body in health and disease. It also helps us seek multipotential ways of managing and treating numerous medical conditions.

What interested you in this role? What makes this role exciting is being able to assist researchers in obtaining their desired human tissue that could help improve the outcome of certain incurable diseases. Also, providing rarer types of tissue, such as healthy brains, hearts, and blood vessels is yet another fascinating thing about our Tissue Bank service.

Can you describe a typical day as manager of a biobank? A typical day in a biobank often includes liaising with medical consultants prior to obtaining, processing, and preserving the human tissues before supplying them to the researchers. Besides this, managing the laboratory, responding to queries regarding human tissues, attending meetings and keeping up to date with the other biobanks are a few additional tasks that are done on a daily basis.

What are the main activities of Ethical Tissue We are one of a few tissue banks that offer a bespoke service supplying the tissue, cell, and fluid samples from a wide range of disease types, in addition to those currently in the bank.  We have full ethical approval to obtain, store and distribute human tissue in accordance with the requirements of the Human Tissue Act. Researchers who use us do not need individual project-based ethical approval from the National Research Ethics Services (NRES).  We have a streamlined approval process that allows us to start delivering many samples within 4-6 weeks.

Researcher in a lab coat

Parisa Naeem, Manager of Ethical Tissue