Session Abstract – PMWC 2017 Silicon Valley

Session Synopsis: Biobanking is crucial to biomedicine. Biobanks are changing the face of medical research by making available a wealth of material needed for broad research, to investigate cancerous tissues, allow access to healthy controls, and more. This session, featuring leaders from two large biobanks and explores the importance of biobanking for personalized medicine, touching on infrastructure requirements, data access policy, and other primary concerns associated with the management of biobanks.

Session Chair Profile

Ph.D., Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Research Bank, Kaiser Permanente

Nazneen Aziz is the Executive Director of the Kaiser Permanente Research Bank (KPRB). In this role, Dr. Aziz will be responsible for strategic direction and operations of KPRB. her previous roles, Dr. Aziz was the SVP and Chief Research Officer at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Director of Molecular Medicine at the College of American Pathologists (CAP). During her tenure at CAP, she led the development of the first set of standards and proficiency tests for clinical laboratories using next-generation sequencing. Dr. Aziz held executive leadership positions in the biotech/biopharma industry where she focused on personalized medicine, genetic tests, and development of drugs for cancer and diabetes. In her academic career, Dr. Aziz was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Aziz received her Ph.D (molecular genetics) and MS (biochemistry) at MIT. Her publications have been cited extensively in the medical and scientific literature and she has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences.


Role of Biobanks in Precision Medicine
The talk will focus on the vital role biobanks have in precision medicine. Dr. Aziz will describe infrastructure development for biobanks. She will also discuss approaches used by health institutions to facilitate innovative research to improve health and healthcare.

Speaker Profile

Ph.D., Director, Million Veteran Program, Veterans Affairs

As Director, Million Veteran Program (MVP), Dr. Muralidhar oversees one of the world’s largest biobanks and databases of genomic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure information. Participants provide a blood sample for future research, complete health-related questionnaires, provide access to their electronic health records, and agree to be contacted in the future. Over 520,000 participants have enrolled. Early scientific projects using MVP data are currently underway. She also serves as VA’s liaison to the White House Precision Medicine Initiative, and as the designated federal officer for VA’s Genomic Medicine Program Advisory Committee. Previously, she served as Senior Scientific Program Manager at VA’s Office of Research and Development, overseeing several portfolios, including genomics and epidemiology. Before joining the VA, Dr. Muralidhar’s roles included Research Associate Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, and post-doctoral work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and National Cancer Institute.