July 8, 2021

New biorepository will serve as critical resource

By Susan Murphy

By Julie Janovsky-Mason

Mayo Clinic is several months away from opening the doors to its new biorepository on the Phoenix campus. The facility will serve as a central resource to store and process biological specimens and clinical data for researchers working to develop therapeutics, vaccines and other medical advances.

The planned 16,000-square-foot facility is the result of a long-standing need for increased biorepository capacity and space in Arizona, spurred by the continued growth of research and the practice. It will be the future home to the Center for Individualized Medicine's Arizona Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing and Pathology Research Core teams and will provide additional space for research freezers and shell space for future robotic freezers.

"The new biorepository facility at Mayo Clinic in Arizona is a result of a productive partnership between the Center for Individualized Medicine and the Research shield at Mayo Clinic in Arizona," says Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., Ph.D., associate director, Center for Individualized Medicine. "This first state-of-the-art facility in Arizona will serve as a catalyst for discovery and innovation by the entire research and clinical community in Arizona and across the enterprise."

The new building is also poised to improve efficiency.

"By consolidating the labs and freezers into one centralized location, we will be able to create efficiencies in the processing and handling of specimens, and have the ability to further automate and standardize processes," explains Stephen Thibodeau, Ph.D., the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Director of the Biorepositories Program, Center for Individualized Medicine.

The facility, expected to open this December, will be similar in design to Mayo's biorepositories in Minnesota and Florida, and will store millions of frozen human specimens, including blood, tissue, stool, urine, saliva and sputum (saliva and mucous), all under one roof. In addition, the facility will be capable of complex processing and shipping of specimens.

Melissa Stanton, M.D., Mayo Clinic in Arizona’s biorepository lab director, says the new facility will offer many benefits to Mayo researchers who depend on the biorepository and its staff for storing and processing the specimens they use as part of their clinical trials.

"This new facility will provide the ability to expand volumes and increase services in support of clinical trials and prospective research and discovery," says Dr. Stanton. "We will be able to implement new services, offering cutting-edge, pre-analytical specimen processing technology." Details on these new services will be forthcoming.

The new biorepository will feature:

  • One liquid nitrogen tank that has the capacity to store over 110,000 specimens, with space for up to 10 liquid nitrogen tanks in the future. At full capacity the biorepository will be able to store 1,110,000 specimens in liquid nitrogen.
  • Nearly two dozen upright minus-80-degree freezers, with capacity for up to 94 freezers and storage of more than 4 million specimens. Space for two Hamilton robotic freezers as part of planned future growth opportunities.

Learn more about the Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing and Pathology Research Core.

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Tags: biobank, Biorepository, bioresearch, Dr. Aleksandar Sekulic, Dr. Stephen Thibodeau, Precision Medicine

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