The UMass Memorial Conquering Diseases Biorepository collects and stores clinical specimens to support clinical and basic research. The Biorepository is a joint venture between the UMass Medical School and the UMass Memorial Clinical system. Financial support for the UMass Biorepository is provided by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (CTSA Grant # UL1TR000161). As a core facility the Conquering Diseases Biorepository provides an array of services to support researchers at UMass and outside organizations. 


Sample and Data Collection

The UMass Biorepository collects blood based specimens. Blood samples are collected from UMass Memorial patients who signed a consent form giving the Biorepository permission to collect their blood. The medical history and the physical sample are connected via the MiCARD database and are subsequently de-identified to ensure the patient’s privacy. The MiCARD database is a powerful research tool accessible to all UMass researchers to search de-identified medical records and find individual samples or whole cohorts of clinical samples with defined clinical phenotypes. Once the samples have been selected a request form is send to the Biorepository. Samples will be delivered to the researcher after the Biorepository Executive Committee has met to approve the release of the specimens.

Blood Collection

Biorepository staff draws blood from each patient into 2 tubes, 1 PaxGene tube and 1 purple Top (EDTA) tube. The PAXgene tube allows preservation and long term storage of RNA (including miRNA) from the peripheral blood cells. The blood from purple tube is separated into plasma and a cell fraction. After the blood draw, the collection tubes are processed and stored in the freezer in less than one hour. Fast processing and freezing of the samples ensures the highest degree of sample integrity. Samples are stored at -80°C to ensure long term stability. Barcodes are used to tag the samples. In addition each step through the whole process of samples collection, preparation and storage is recorded in a LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) to gain full sample custody.


From each patient we store plasma, the blood cell pellet for DNA extraction and a PaxGene tube to isolate RNA. The MiCARD database is available to UMass researchers to query the Biorepository inventory for samples with specific medical background. DNA and RNA extraction can be performed on request.

Specimen Storage

Specimens are stored at -80°C to ensure long term stability. The history of each sample is recorded in the LIMS.

Supporting Data

The specimens are delivered with a basic set of demographic data. In addition we can generate custom sets of de-identified medical data for each sample.

Custom Collections

The Biorepository team can assist researchers in setting up prospective, targeted sample collections for new research projects. We can help researchers set up sample collection using their staff or we can collect the samples for the researcher. The sample storage, sample management and data collection can be provided by the UMass Biorepository.