Exploring dry storage as an alternative biobanking strategy inspired by nature

Biobanking under liquid nitrogen has satisfactory efficiency but it comes with many drawbacks. It is expensive, has high carbon footprint, needs dedicated facilities, trained personnel, and continuous monitoring and LN supply. Searching Nature for alternatives, long-term preservation there is done by drying rather than freezing.

To date, however, mammalian cells do not survive the drying process. Even so, if the genetic and epigenetic load of somatic cells and gametes is maintained, drying can find an important role in biobanking, a fast growing global industry. Bearing in mind the many limitations of cryostorage, countless uses and applications of biobanking face serious sustainability challenges.

Dry biobanking would benefit fields such as biodiversity conservation, blood banks, massive cell and tissue storage for research and precision medicine initiatives and would have worldwide forcefulness during conflicts and environmental catastrophes.

Dry storage will make biobanking more accessible to a wider range of small and medium size enterprises and third world nations where liquid nitrogen supply is limited and often unreliable. Being considerable cheaper, dry biobanking will save huge societal expenditures, freeing funds for other important purposes.

In this project we aim to elucidate the effects of drying on DNA structure and function, crucial aspects of long-term biobanking not thoroughly investigated yet, using fibroblast as a model cell, and combining advanced freezing and drying techniques with state-of-the-art Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) and latest genomic technologies.

The expected outcomes are definitive data on effects of drying on genomic stability and function, and possible discovery of a protocol to protect the genetic and epigenetic loads during cell drying.

Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.2. - Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility

Topic: MSCA-IF-2016 - Individual Fellowships

Duration: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

Cost: Total cost: EUR 180.277,20

Coordinator: Università degli studi di Teramo, Italy

Where we are

University of Teramo

Coste Sant'Agostino Campus

via R. Balzarini 1 64100 Teramo

Info: jsaragusty@unite.it

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action “Individual Fellowships (IF)” - Grant agreement No 749537