Biobanks. The interdependence between forms of biovalue creation and donor participation
Lorenzo Beltrame (University of Trento)
Christine Hauskeller (University of Exeter)
Saturday 3 September, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The track explores the interplay between different configurations of biobanks and the participation of individuals, focusing on the resulting variable forms of biovalue creation and the shaping of subjectivities and identities of the individuals involved

Long abstract:

Biobanks are central institutions in the infrastructure of contemporary biomedicine. They collect, test, store and provide a variety of different tissues, samples and bioinformation for research, therapy and drug development. Biobanks can be small local facilities or part of large internationally operating networks. Some are commercial, others voluntary for public use and increasingly both forms of bioeconomy intersect. In recent years, new types of biobanks were established, founded and/or supported by patient groups.

In this track we invite proposals that look specifically at the interaction between the individuals, families, and patient groups who provide body tissues or data to biobanks. The influence of these agents on the sector needs an in depth scrutiny, because individuals make choices about whether to participate and how in biobanking - from the collection and storage of stem cells (from cord blood, amniotic fluid, menstrual blood etc.) to that of body samples for genomics research. The way individuals interact with biobanks shapes biomedicine, and how the different kinds of biobanks are set up and function.

This track aims to explore how these choices, and the promises and incentives biobanks put forth shape both the economic forms of biovalue creation and the identities of private individuals who contribute.

We welcome especially empirically oriented contributions that discuss:

various involvements of patients, citizens and other non-expert actors in different configurations of biobanks

subjectivities and collectives shaped by the involvement in biobanking activities

novel forms of biosocial participation in both public and commercial biobanking or hybrid configurations