Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) Biobank and NRL Sample Bank

The HMSTrust Biobank is managed by and housed at NRL’s primary laboratory facility located at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

The HMSTrust Biobank is intended as a storage resource and repository for all research groups, clinical trials organisations and those requiring contract storage of their biological samples.

Our Biobank is somewhat unique as it caters for all researchers and CRO’s (Clinical Research Organisations) by providing the facility to store samples of any disease type.

This fully compliant facility stores multiple tissue types such as whole blood, plasma, serum and tissue.

Who we are: 

The HMSTrust Biobank was established in 2015 as the result of a donation from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to develop lab space and infrastructure for the facility.















Since then, the Biobank has grown a collection of over 22,000 specimens from over 600 participants. We primarily collect blood products, including plasma, serum, PBMC, and whole blood. We also have a growing collection of tissue samples. We have the capacity, staff and skills to store many more sample types, such as faecal samples, nasal swabs, etc, and we work with Biobank users to ensure all study-specific sample collection needs are met.   


What we offer: 

Contact us to discuss your off-site contract Biobank requirements for any disease tissue samples.

Our facility currently stores for the following disease states, but can store for any tissue

  • Hepatitis

  • HIV

  • HTLV

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer


We encourage enquiries from any Australian, New Zealand or global teams requiring safe storage and access to their critical samples for:

  • Primary research

  • Translational research groups

  • Clinical research organisations

  • Clinical Trial Co-ordinators


We tailor our services to the needs of each individual study. This comprises an end-to-end service, encompassing pre-study consultation and planning, sample collection and processing, trial runs and troubleshooting, ongoing adaptation to changing study needs, and secure de-identified data collation. 

We can work with you prior to submissions for grant funding to advise on your protocol and to provide budgeting information. 


Quality Statement: 

The HMSTrust Biobank is certified by the Immunovirology network as competent in the processing of PBMC, and all of Biobank’s staff participate in this ongoing quality assurance program. As a facility of the NRL, Biobank works within the ISO 9001 quality framework, and is supported by a quality management system, and manned specimen reception. Biobank’s freezers and fridges are temperature monitored and recorded 24-7. Together, these processes ensure robust sample handling protocols and confidence in change-of custody and storage of samples for our users. 

Cost structure:  

Charges for using Biobank are based solely on cost recovery for the services provided. The pricing structure is tailored to the individual needs of each study, based on the number and type of samples to be collected. 

Please click here to request a tailored quote for your study. 


Sample retrieval: 

An application to retrieve samples from the Biobank is open to any party who has a valid, current human ethics approval for use of the sample in place. The application is reviewed by our Biobank Governance Committee, and will be referred to the original sample depositor, if they are not requesting the retrieval. 

Sample retrieval only users (i.e. those who have not deposited a sample in Biobank), will pay a proportion of the costs of biobanking the sample at the time of retrieval. Please click here to enquire about samples available at HMSTrust Biobank, and retrieval costs. 


How we make a difference: 

Type 1 Diabetes is a diagnosis for life, but what if we could slow or stop the disease? That’s what one study supported by Biobank aims to find out. The BANDIT clinical trial is currently being run across three Melbourne and one Adelaide-based hospital. Patients who have recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes receive the study drug, and donate 6 blood samples over a 2 year period. Biobank processes 4 different sample types from the donated blood, and stores it securely until the end of the study. At that point all the samples from all the donors will be tested together, to see the results of the trial. 

Contact Details:

Katherine Woods, Biobank Coordinator


P: (03) 94181106

Contact Us

 Address: 4th Floor, Healy BuildinNRL

4th Floor, Healy Building

41 Victoria Parade

Fitzroy VIC 3065


Fax: +61 3 9418 1155

Phone: +61 3 9418 1111


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NRL is designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics and Laboratory Support for HIV and AIDS and Other Blood-borne Infections