The DTBV was established in 1989 as a service division of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM) in accordance with its statutory role to provide tissue banking facilities and services.
This was in direct recognition of the Institute’s privileged access to human tissue from the deceased and therefore enabling further benefits to the community. Spearheaded by Lyn Ireland, the tissue bank had its roots in the VIFM Microbiology Laboratory which extended its remit to screen for transplant transmissible disease.
The Microbiology Laboratory is now housed within the DTBV, but it is still providing crucial forensic microbiology, serology and specialist laboratory liaison services to support the VIFM’s cause of death investigations. The first bone was donated and transplanted in 1991, heart valve banking commenced in 1993 and the skin bank and living donor bone program was established in 1994.
Construction of a new facility began in 1991, and then a new extension was opened in 2000 in response to ongoing growth and clinical need of tissue for transplant. By 2007 it was clear that a new purpose-built facility would be needed to carry the DTBV into the future with greater capacity and to enable the retrieval, processing, storage, testing and supply of more complex and specialist grafts into the future. For this to take place, specialist cleanroom facilities and equipment were required. The new purpose-built, high-grade multi-purpose facility will open in 2015.
Above: The artwork that inspired the DTBV logo from an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art at Heide, 1988 – 1993.