IBRH3AU Biospecimen Catalogue

User's Introductory Guide


  1. About IBRH3AU
  2. Background
  3. The Concept
  4. Key Catalogue functions
  5. The Home Page
  6. The Specimen Dashboard
  7. Creating a user account
  8. Advanced search
  9. Requesting biospecimens
  10. Contact information or assistance
  11. Current status

About IBRH3AU Biorepository

Integrated Biorepository of H3Africa Uganda (IBRH3AU), is a state of the art Biorepository in Uganda. A one stop center of well annotated, quality assured and well characterized Biospecimens for Genomics and other research in communicable and non-communicable diseases. Our mission is to develop, maintain and sustain a state-of-the-art world class Biorepository for the responsible storage, maintenance, and custodianship of well-annotated high-quality Biospecimens and to make these specimens available to researchers for genomic discovery and other biomedical research. The Bioreppository also offers training in collection, processing, storage, shipment and analysis of an array of Biospecimens including environmental samples and human tissues.

The ultimate goal of IBRH3AU is to develop a state-of-the-art world class biorepository of well annotated and characterized biospecimens widely available to the H3Africa Consortium, African and International researchers for genomic discovery projects. The information obtained from the genomic analysis of the samples will allow researchers to develop or test new diagnostic tests, personalized treatment options, and develop new treatment methods. Over the course of the project, the Integrated Biorepository of H3Africa Uganda has developed capacity to perform biorepository services; collect/receive, process, store and ship Biospecimens as per international standards and has developed training resources in biorepository science and management. IBRH3AU has a well annotated collection of various Biospecimen (DNA, RNA, PBMCs, Serum, Plasma, e.t.c.), environmental exposure samples and human tissues, and the associated phenotypic data held at H3Africa Biospecimen catalog managed by H3ABionet and the H3Africa data and Biospecimen access committee (DBAC). Other biospecimens available at IBRH3AU are accessible through the IBRH3AU Catalog (www.ibru.mak.ac.ug/Catalog). IBRH3AU has collected and stored samples from over 40,000 COVID-19 cases and controls, these samples are available to local and international researchers. Furthermore, IBRH3AU was the second laboratory to be activated for COVID-19 testing in the country. IBRH3AU continues to carry out clinical testing for COVID-19 as part of the national response. To date, the laboratory has conducted over 50,000 tests for COVID-19 and established a repository of these samples.


Many ailments that were once incurable such as infertility, sickle cell anaemia, leukaemia, kidney and liver failure have been addressed through tissue or organ donation. Such diseases are abundant in Uganda. However, while organ transplant has become routine in developed countries, in Africa, only a few can access such care abroad at exorbitant costs. Capacity in transplant medicine in Uganda is being built through training doctors and health workers as well as establishing specialized hospitals in public and private sector. One of the remaining gaps in this field is the capacity to have quality assured biobanks that collect, store, retrieve and distribute viable tissues and organs in a well-regulated standardized manner. Makerere University, at College of Health Sciences (CHS) has pioneered Biobanking in Uganda through establishing the first well annotated, quality assured biorepository https://www.ibru.mak.ac.ug, for nucleic acids, blood and its derivatives with over 200,000 samples in storage over the last 10 years. We have now expanded scope to include tissue and organ biobanking. The biobank will now locally provide quality tissues and organs for health care, support training and catalyze research as well as resource mobilization.

The concept

The IBRH3AU Biospecimen Catalog is a publicly accessible Biospecimen Catalog of viable Biospecimens, tissue and organs. The catalog showcases the available Biospecimens, human tissue and organs, informing potential beneficiaries and health care givers of the availability of these well stored Biospecimens (sperm, ova and umbilical cord blood) that can be used as part of the treatment regimen. The catalogue makes public the tissue and organ inventories with their associated phenotypic definitions, with mechanisms for the public and potential beneficiaries to access and request from a pool of Biospecimens stored at the Biorepository. It also presents any of the research project’s discoveries and publications to enable the sharing of research outputs generated from the research to the global research community.

Key catalogue functions

The Catalog provides an unlimited easy access to high quality Biospecimens, human tissues and organs by potential recipients or researchers. It is a single convenient point of access to a pool of Biospecimens. We're trusted by many leading research institutions, academic institutes and biomedical companies for diagnostics, health care or basic research. Through the catalog you are able to search and request for biospecimens or human tissues/organs for health care or basic research needs.

The objective is to facilitate research that will benefit study participants and the general public through making publically available the Biospecimens and data following the necessary guidelines. The Biospecimen Catalogue offers researchers, potential organ and tissue recipients and the interested public the ability to search information about IBRH3AU Biorepository, Advancing Tissue and Organ Biobanking in Uganda, Access to the Biospecimens deposited at the IBRH3AU biorepository and the associated resulting data. Access to the Biospecimens and data is controlled by the Biorepository Data and Biospecimen Access Committee. The catalog users are able to perform basic and advanced searches, e.g. (Participant – by sex, age, ethnicity, etc., or Biospecimen Type, storage conditions, etc.), from search results users can submit a request for access for the data or biospecimens to the Biorepository Data and Biospecimen Access Committee.

The home page

The home page mainly provides users with an introduction to the IBRH3AU Catalog, the purpose and what to expect.

Home Page
Fig.1 - Catalog Home Page.

The Specimen Dashboard

Dashboard One: This provides for access to a summary of the Biospeciments available at the Biorepository

Home Page
Fig.2 - Dashboard One.

Dashboard Two: The dashboard provides for access to a summary of the human tissues and organs available at the Biorepository

Home Page
Fig.3 - Dashboard Two.

Using the basic search tool (login not required)

Creating a user account

Advanced search (login required)

Requesting biospecimens (login may be required)

Contact information or assistance


Current status

The Catalog is currently still under development and testing