Dr Zisis Kozlakidis is a virologist with an expertise in viral co-infections, diagnostics and a long-standing interest in biobanking, the adoption of medical innovations and how the latter affect financing and policy implementation. He has completed a PhD in microbiology followed by working experience in the design of viral diagnostics. His increasing involvement in the field of biobanking and the public engagement of science have been central in being awarded the Associateship of King’s College (AKC) for his overall contribution to ethics. His experience includes consulting and advisory work in multiple countries including China, Vietnam, Greece, Indonesia, Germany and the UK. Dr Kozlakidis has been recently elected Fellow of the Linnean Society for his contribution to science.
Dr Kozlakidis has published a number of papers on newly described RNA viruses that are commonly found on multiple infection settings. He became interested in biobanking because of the constant need for the provision of well-characterized reference samples in the field of virology. He became involved in the past in the establishment and running of the UK Infectious Diseases Biobank and is currently managing the ICONIC project on behalf of the Wellcome Trust and the UK Department of Health.
His personal experiences in biobanking, diagnostics and the medical research field have concentrated not only on the research question asked each time but also on the financial implications any output might have on routine healthcare. The financial, direct and indirect aspects of a biobank are inexorably linked to its sustainability and long-term success. As such the importance of economic aspects in biobanking is only now started to be appreciated by the general scientific community beyond the initial capital investment stage.
Zisis has also published on biobanking ethics along two main themes: balancing the common good vs individual rights and the application of research ethics during pandemics. He is a very active participant in public engagement on biobanking, including talks of general nature, participation on charity boards as an external speaker (e.g. the Hepatitis C Trust, NCT) and contributor to patient groups’ newsletters. Public engagement activities have also involved established institutions such as NIHR, University College London, the British Science Festival and the London Science Museum.