A biobank refers to a systematic collection of biological samples and associated data that are stored mainly for the purpose of research. Biobanks facilitate research by making data and information available to researches. Without the use of biobanks, biological samples and associated data are kept in an irregular individual manner, in which data retrieval depends on the knowledge of the individual who stores them. There are multiple examples of large national, regional and international biobanks.
Iran’s National Brain Mapping Laboratory (NBML) has launched the Iranian Brain Mapping Biobank since 2017 to host and share national brain mapping data to researchers across the country. IBMB is a large biorepository that stores data from research projects carried out in NBML as well as samples collected from other research and clinical centers. IBMB aims to facilitate brain research by making the most relevant brain mapping data available to researchers. In addition, IBMB can be subject to certain applications, including the development of artificial intelligent systems, radiomics, and the extraction of quantitative data from brain images and signals.
IBMB has 4 advisory committees: clinical, paraclinical, imaging and engineering-basic sciences. Members of the advisory committees are among experts and professors in related fields. The committees are established to provide information on how to host different types of data samples as well as data structure in IBMB.
Fig. 1: IBMB advisory committees
Brain mapping data of various types are stored in IBMB. Structural and functional images (e.g. MRI and fMRI images), biosignals (e.g. EEG, MEG and fNIRS signals), cognitive and clinical assessments, as well as laboratory and pathological measures can be found in IBMB.
Fig. 2: IBMB data types
Each sample in IBMB contains three main components: 1) The sample itself, 2) Technical structured report of the sample, 3) Clinical structured report of the sample. Brain digital samples, including images and biosignals, are stored electronically in IBMB, while brain tissue samples are stored in IBMB partner centers. The technical specifications of the samples are used for putting filters to be applied by the user to find the desired samples. Clinical specifications of the samples provide clinical labels to be used in research, in addition to searching for particular samples in IBMB.
Anyone can create a free account at www.ibmb.nbml.ir to login and use IBMB. Once logged in, each user can define an unlimited number of projects. In the next step, the user can apply filters based on the technical and clinical structured reports of the available samples to find and order the most relevant samples that fit his/her project.
Fig. 3: IBMB website home page
Address: National Brain Mapping Laboratory, South Side of the Electrical Engineering Faculty, College of Engineering, North Kargar St, Tehran, Iran
Tel: 021-86093109 (Ext. 160)