Human Biomaterials Resource Centre

The Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC), was established in 2010. It provides simple and efficient access to high quality human biomaterials and data for the purposes of biomedical research, and also offers sample management and tissue-based analytical services. 

The HBRC seeks to establish excellence in biobanking. The prime objective is to facilitate high quality translational research and enable a better understanding of disease pathology, improvements in diagnosis and treatment, and a better outcome for all. 

Why work with us?

Researcher working in a lab.

The HBRC aims to provide a gold-standard service trusted by donors and the research community alike. The facility has ethical approval to collect and distribute samples across a wide range of research themes both in academia and industry (North West - Haydock Research Ethics Committee; Ref 20/NW/0001) and operates under HTA research licence 12358. Sample collection pathways are well-established across the West Midlands in many disease settings. Through its links with the NHS, the HBRC has access to a vast range of clinical and pathology expertise. The competent workforce and well-equipped facility also enable the HBRC to deliver high quality sample management services.

Who do we work with?

Over 400 research projects have been approved to access samples and data through the HBRC since 2010. Additionally, the HBRC hosts material, or provides services to, multiple research studies and clinical trials running under project-specific governance. The facility was the central collection point for the West Midland Genomics Medicine Centre during the recent 100k Genomes Project.

Although the majority of the client base are academic researchers from the University of Birmingham, the HBRC also works with, and warmly welcomes, national and international collaborations with external academic and commercial partners.

Effective working relationships with the majority of NHS Trusts within the West Midlands (at the level of operative theatres, wards, clinics, and histopathology departments) provide a valuable bridge between researchers and patients.

Resources and Services

Researcher holding up a slide

The HBRC is well-known for its successful bespoke “fresh” tissue service, and its quality-assured histology service. 

Samples are collected and processed from a wide range of disease settings, as well as healthy volunteers. They comprise tissue and fluids which are waste, surplus to diagnosis, or collected for individual research groups. 

Histology services are delivered to laboratory GCP standards, and they include the fixation and paraffin embedding of tissue, tissue sectioning, and automated staining.

The HBRC is self-funded, with running costs met through a cost recovery model which is proportional to the level and nature of the service delivered. 

Current Research

The HBRC supports multiple basic/translational research projects under its own generic ethical approval, as well as many CTIMP/non-CTIMP studies running under project-specific regulatory approvals.

Themes currently supported include cancer in many settings, rare diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac disease, diabetes, and renal medicine.

Contact us

For new business enquiries, please contact:

Dr Gareth Bicknell
HBRC General Manager

For general communications, please direct your email to:
or call +44 (0)7584 312396