Shortlisted entries 2011

10. Banking on our future
People, Stephen McGowan

UK Biobank is the most ambitious biobanking projects in recent times. The aim of which was to gather biological samples as well as medical and lifestyle data from 500,000 people aged 40-69. With the slogan ‘Improving the health of future generations’, UK Biobank is a long term project with the sole aim being to invest in the future. With such a project focused on the future, sustainability is key. The picture shows the inside of UK Biobank’s -80 biological sample archive. Being that this is a long term project and the fact that sample integrity must be sustained, biological samples are cryogenically frozen. Being held in an -80 environment, the archive is fully automated through the use of robotics. The sheer size of the sample population means that the project should ultimately shed light on many life-threatening diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

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