Pathology and Biorepository Core

VARI’s Biorepository is nationally and internationally recognized, and is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (no. 8017856) for the following services:

  • Biobanking project development, planning and implementation
  • Specimen accessioning, storage and access
  • Nucleic acid extraction and quality assessment
  • Specimen collection and procurement (including biospecimen kit design, manufacturing and tracking)
  • Specimen informatics support

VARI’s Biorepository provides services for a number of large-scale national and international projects. For more information click here or please contact Dan Rohrer.

VARI’s Biorepository is a member of the Great Lakes Biorepository Research Network (GLBRN), a collaborative effort to implement uniform, streamlined policies and procedures for the distribution and utilization of biobanked specimens to researchers at affiliated institutions.  Membership in the GLBRN provides VARI scientists access to other biorepositories in the region. For further information on the GLBRN, see www.glbrn.org.

Certified internal users should login to Agilent CrossLab for all biospecimen requests. For questions and pricing information, please contact Dana Valley at 616.234.5756.

Biospecimen access

The Biorepository’s mission is to provide high-quality biospecimens to the VARI investigators and the broader research community. General and project-specific collections occur at local hospitals and at designated sites throughout the country, as part of several consortia. The types of samples collected or created include the following:

  • Frozen tissue
  • FFPE tissue
  • Blood by-products (e.g., plasma, serum and white blood cells)
  • Saliva
  • DNA
  • RNA
  • Tissue microarrays

Sample collection and availability

In general, a standard patient collection for the Biorepository consists of frozen tumor, FFPE tumor, normal adjacent frozen tissue, normal adjacent FFPE and blood (plasma, serum and white blood cells). The Biorepository focuses general collections on cancer tissue and matched normal/blood. Limited patient data and a de-identified diagnostic pathology report is available with an option to request further clinical data at cost.

Samples from a variety of diseases and anatomic sites are available. Each case has had the diagnosis confirmed via an internal pathology review with additional quality metrics available (e.g., % tumor, % necrosis, etc.). This resource is available in the searchable web-based catalog. Those who would like access to this catalog should send account requests to Dan Rohrer and/or Dana Valley. Upon account creation, Core staff will provide a detailed guide for accessing the system and samples. Laboratories that maintain their collections in VARI’s Biorepository may access their inventory through the web-based catalog. For current internal users, this catalog can be accessed directly via the Institute’s intranet.

The Core also maintains a formalin fixed paraffin block archive that is cataloged and searchable through the Van Andel Data Repository (VADR) system. VADR is available to internal users via the the Institute’s intranet. The Pathology and Biorepository Core manages more than 1 million formalin fixed paraffin blocks from diagnostic resections in VADR.

To request biospecimens, an Investigator Application for Biospecimen Access must be completed and approved. This application is available through CrossLab.

VARI staff that need a login (or further CrossLab support) should contact Lori Moon and MSU staff that need a login should contact Erica Lange. External users that need an CrossLab account/login can go here for account creation. After logging in, external users should click “list all cores” under the Core Facilities section in the left menu and scroll down to “Cores at Van Andel Institute.”