Processing Biospecimens

Location: Eastlake Building, E1-305
Contact phone: (206) 667-4645
Contact fax: (206) 667-5590
Contact e-mail:

The scope of our processing work includes the development and validation of procedures for specimen processing and analyses; processing blood, urine, buccal, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and DNA samples; entering data on samples processed through computerized programs; and carrying out quality assurance procedures to include routine laboratory quality control and maintenance.

Processing activities include

  • Receipt of specimens from internal and external sources
  • Separation of selected biological components (i.e. serum, plasma, RBC, blood clot, urine, PBMC)
  • Processing of buffy coats ("Modified Potter" procedure)
  • Separating lymphocytes for EBV transformation and DNA extraction ("Louie-King" procedure)
  • Cryopreservation and short term or long term storage of specimens (see Specimen Storage)
  • Shipment of specimens internally and externally

Specimen Processing/Research Cell Bank tracks all specimens and aliquots from receipt until long-term storage. A barcode labeling system is used to identify and track all samples submitted.  The use of barcodes serves not only as a link to the database but also as a sample de-identifier for downstream applications. Scanned identification numbers can be entered directly into the database to prevent ID mislabeling and tracking.

The database tracks a variety of parameters associated with each specimen, including sample demographics, QC information, freezer location and reagent tracking. The database used for sample tracking and inventory control has been created by laboratory staff with consultation from the FHCRC Division of Clinical Computing, and can be modified as necessary for the identification, tracking, inventory control, quality control and report generation of any type of specimen.  Database administrators reside in the lab for rapid data verification and problem resolution.

Specimen Processing uses a Cellometer T4 Automated Cell Counter for cell counting.  The Research Cell Bank uses a Guava EasyCyte HT automated cell counter for cell counting. See the instrument description for more information about additional uses of these instruments.

To initiate any work with Specimen Processing Lab, you must first fill out a Service Initiation Form. This form should be sent to or faxed to (206) 667-5590.

Doing Business with Specimen Processing/Research Cell Bank

Eastlake Building, E1-305
SPL: (206) 667-4645
RCB: (206) 667-3756

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