Welcome to Stellenbosch University

The BMRI Biorepository Unit, which forms part of the state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute housed within the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, is a purpose-built facility that offers a range of biorepository services to clients in both academia and industry. Some of the services include sample processing, -80˚C storage, -190˚C vapour phase storage as well as sample shipping.​

The biorepository utilises the Hamilton BiOS, a large-scale, automated biological storage system, to assist in the management and storage of samples. The Hamilton BiOS offers an alternative storage option to upright and chest -80˚C freezers, conserving costs, energy, and space while ensuring sample integrity, easy access, and tracking. Through its cutting-edge robotic technology, a vast array of biological specimens can be stored and retrieved from the system within minutes from a single secure location, without compromising sample integrity. The unit’s BiOS was the first automated storage system of this scale to be commissioned in the Southern Hemisphere and has a sample capacity of approximately 3.5 million. The system is also upgradeable to store an additional 3 to 5 million samples. 

The BiOS is equipped with multiple redundant backup systems and conditions are continuously monitored with remote alerts to on-call staff. The automated system provides two layers of refrigeration redundancy, with additional access to liquid nitrogen to protect the samples in the event of multiple failures. The Unit is also supplied with generators and UPS systems for backup power. 

The Biorepository also offers long term cryopreservation using liquid nitrogen vapour phase storage. Inventory management is achieved using a LIMS and conditions are monitored continuously to ensure sample integrity is not compromised. Services are automated where applicable, using the sophisticated Hamilton EasyBlood STAR robotic liquid handling system and includes nucleic acid extractions from bodily fluids; aliquot preparation; and the aspiration of blood fractions The Hamilton STAR offers great flexibility in terms of sample processing for biobanking applications and the automation of the extraction process on the platform extends a dependable, cost-effective solution for high throughput workloads.

We offer custom solutions to the biorepository needs of clients – whether it is assisting with study planning, budget preparations, protocol developments, or any supplementary service within our scope that supports research outcomes. Application for storage and processing is electronic and can be approved within a few hours. Through compliance with biobanking standards and the implementation of a quality management system, the Biorepository Unit devotes itself to assuring the consistent quality of the specimens processed and stored at its facility. 

G​​uaranteed sample integrity, security and traceability