Title: Setting an interdisciplinary/sectorial/international research network to explore dry storage as an alternative strategy for cells/germplasm biobanking
Objectives: The number of biobanks for diagnostic/clinical/biodiversity preservation purposes is increasing exponentially, representing an economic burden for the EU. Cryopreservation (Liquid Nitrogen LN) is the only cells/gametes long-term repository method. LN storage is expensive though, requires dedicated facilities, is hazardous, carries pathogens and has high carbon footprint. DRYNET objective is to set an inter-sectorial/multidisciplinary/international network between EU academic (5), SME (3), the EU pan-Biobank, and international partners (Japan/Thailand), with the aim of sharing knowhow & expertise to lay down the theoretical and early empirical basis for the dry storage of cells/germplasm. DRYNET merges the partner’s expertise, theoretical/ biophysical/ mathematical modelling, cellular/ molecular/ insect biology, embryology, mechanical engineering into a coherent approach towards dry storage of cells/germplasm. International/inter-sectorial secondments, with meeting/workshop/summer school will be primary tools to implement our strategy for biobanking. Outreaching activities will guarantee public awareness of the project. DRYNET’s relies on water subtraction to induce a reversible block of metabolism, a survival strategy available in nature (anhydrobiosis). The work plan foresees the exploitation of natural xero-protectants (Late Embryogenesis Abundant proteins), loaded/expressed in gametes/cells, before drying. The best drying approaches, supported by theoretical/biophysical/math modelling, will be implemented by SMEs/academy partners. DRYNET will bring a simplification of currents practices, with cost and carbon footprint reduction, for the maintenance/shipping of biobanks. DRYNET will generate young scientists with transferable skills, ensuring career prospect in academia/industry. DRYNET strengthens the international/sectorial network between different disciplines, ensures long-term sustainability of the project, and boosts European competitiveness in biobanking.