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Where to find us?

The SBIMB BioBank is situated at 9 Jubilee Road in Parktown, Johannesburg and is hosted by the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, a Wits 21st Century Institute.  It is housed in a newly renovated building. We aim to ensure high quality and quantity of DNA samples are obtained, to facilitate future collaborative research.

The storage laboratory houses DNA as well as blood samples collected from various university collaborative research projects. The SBIMB Biobank also has storage capacity at the Clinical Laboratory Services in Braamfontein for storage of urine, plasma, serum and microbiome samples.

Automated DNA extraction platforms equip this facility to extract DNA from buffy coats or saliva using a Chemagic 360 extraction and/or the GenePure extraction system.

A separate PCR laboratory complements this platform by providing all the necessary equipment for pre- and post-PCR procedures. This research laboratory has the capacity for genotyping, real-time PCR and Next Generation Sequencing on the iSeq Illumina platform. Ultra low-temperature freezers (-86°C) and 4°C storage fridges are monitored and regularly checked to ensure the integrity of all samples.

The SBIMB Biobank was awarded ethics approval by the University of the Witwatersrand's Human Research Ethics Committee in November 2020 and is valid for 5 years.

SBIMB Biobank provide the following services

DNA storage and curation

DNA extraction (whole blood, buffy coat, saliva)

  1. Manual Salting Out DNA Extraction
  2. Automated DNA Extraction on either or the GenePure, or the Chemagic 360.
    1. Both methods use a magnetic bead technology to extract DNA

Sample preparation for shipping and downstream analysis

  1. Aliquoting of DNA samples
  2. Normalization
  3. Quality Control
    1. Gel electrophoresis for DNA integrity
    2. Nanodrop One and Qubit for DNA quantity

Consultation and advice for required documentation for genomic research (e.g. Ethics approval, Import and Export permits, MTAs)

Costs for Service breakdown

The Biobank charges a fee for service which is calculated on a per-project basis in accordance with the requested project needs.

  • Automated DNA Extraction
    • Chemagic 360
    • GenePure
    • Manual DNA Extraction
  • Aliquoting and Normalization (excluding storage)
  • DNA Storage (Cost of tubes)
  • Sample Storage per box per month after 1st year
  • Labour (per hour)

Please contact the Laboratory Manager, Natalie, to get an accurate quote based on your project needs.

Research Laboratory

  building research lab

The newly built research laboratory situated at 9 Jubilee Road has the capacity for various PCR applications, quality control and Next Generation Sequencing.


  • ProFlex PCR ThermoCycler
  • QuantStudio 5
  • Qubit Fluorometer 4
  • Sage Elf
  • BioAnalyzer
  • Illumina iSeq 100 Sequencing System
  • Supporting equipment for library preparation
    • Hybex Heating System
    • Centrifuges
    • Plate Shaker
Contact Us

For more information please contact the Biobank Research Laboratory:

Laboratory and Biobank Manager:

Ms Natalie Smyth
Tel: +27 11 717 9903