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Tissue Bank Services

Services are provided to investigators as fee-for-service.

  • Customized study plan collection of specific sample types by consultation with Biorepository personnel.
  • Search of Biorepository databases for specimens meeting research project needs.
  • Retrieval and distribution of de-identified/coded banked specimens.
  • Regulatory guidance, including protection of human subjects, tissue ownership, limitations on how tissues may be used and responsibilities to UMass.
  • Guidance on long term storage and inventory management using OpenSpecimen.

How to Get Started

Any research that involves human subjects requires UMass IRB approvals and requires that investigators have completed the ‘Protection of Human Subjects in Research’ training: and IBC approval. Access to Biorepository specimens requires the following:

  • Work with Biorepository personnel to set up a study or to review available specimens necessary to investigate the research question; design protocol.
  • Obtain IRB approval for the project. For most projects this will require submission of Human Research Protocol, and Waiver Request (link). Note: the use of coded Biobank specimens rather than identifiable specimens facilitates the IRB approval process.

Examples of Projects and Services

In addition to help with procuring samples, the Biorepository maintains storage for project-specific collections. Access to these samples requires approval and collaboration with the PI who initiated the collection.

Examples include:

  • Whole blood, plasma, and serum from rheumatoid arthritis study (PI Kay).
  • Plasma, serum, urine, and stool specimens from AlcHepNet national study (U01AA026977).
  • Whole blood, plasma, and serum from Conquering Diseases Biorepository. (PI Simin)

Fresh Tissue Collection

Archived Samples

  • Paraffin blocks dating back to 1993 (in collaboration with the UMMHC Department of Pathology
  • Available with Clinical Pathology Diagnosis

Bone Marrow and Blood Collection

  • Study to collect blood and/or bone marrow from patients with blood disorders, blood cell malignancies and associated conditions to give us further information regarding the differences between normal blood cells and the blood cells of affected individuals. Clinical Trial NCT01174615, Principal Investigator: Jan Cerny, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Specimens are available as fresh cell isolates, frozen cell isolates, or unprocessed
  • Tissue Procurement for Avatar Institute


  • Your tissue can be processed and embedded to paraffin

Cutting Slides

  • Your paraffin or frozen blocks can be sectioned and stained

Additional Services

  • Specific Study Needs Can Be Met
  • Fresh tissue can be placed immediately in your media
  • Pathology reports and clinical data
  • Pictures of H&E slides
  • Inquire for more

Please use the Request Specimens form for all tissue requests.