Biorepository & Biospecimen Resource Facility

The Biorepository Core serves as a resource to process, track, store, retrieve and prepare biological samples. Critical to successful molecular epidemiologic research are high quality, accessible human biological samples. Automated specimen processing and freezer storage systems are being developed to provide specialized expertise to the proposed projects for the five-year COBRE award, and ultimately produce a sustainable institutional and regional resource Core for Molecular Epidemiology.

Making Epidemiological Resources Available to the Scientific Community

The Center for Molecular Epidemiology Biorepository Core embodies a wealth of samples being accrued from large-scaled human studies, archives of samples from completed research, and a wide range of expertise in genetics, epigenetics, molecular pathology, and spatial imaging. The Biorepository Core and its collective epidemiological expertise unique to northern New England seeks to sustain state-of-the-art Biorepository Core to advance the pace at which innovative, impactful research is conducted. A wide array of automated and processes support all of the Center’s molecular epidemiology research projects, pilot projects, research in the Dartmouth community and beyond, with the ultimate goal of serving as a regional/national resource.

Sample Management, Storage and Pre-Analytical Processing

  • Automated storage and retrieval systems, and traditional archival storage @ -140OC, -80OC, -20OC 4OC, Liquid Nitrogen, Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE)
  • Automated specimen processing: blood fractionation, lymphocyte isolation, nucleic acid extraction from blood, tissue, swabs, saliva and stool, quantification and normalization nucleic acids, aliquoting and diluting of specimens into various tube and plate storage formats
  • Manual specimen processing: solid tissues (e.g., placenta, other normal, and neoplastic tissues), urine, stool water, nails, hair, blood spots and breastmilk; tissue fixation;
  • Other services: reagent preparation, specimen retrieval, shipping and referral management services, standardized histopathology review, individual consultation for study design and execution; protocol development and validation
  • Processed over 20,000 specimens and archived over 100,000 aliquots
  • Long term institutional storage of over 250,000 aliquots

Selected Specimens Processed and Archived

  • Adult/Infant/Cord Blood & Components
  • Maternal/Cord Lymphocytes
  • Maternal Blood RNA
  • Cord Blood DNA
  • Placenta (FFPE, RNAlater, Metal Free tubes)
  • Guthrie Card Blood Spot
  • Adult/Infant Stool/Microbiome DNA
  • Breast Milk and Components
  • Breast Milk DNA/Microbiome DNA
  • Child Buccal Swabs
  • Hand Wipes
  • Maternal hair
  • Adult/Infant Nails
  • Adult/Infant Urine
  • Household Water
  • Control materials
  • Normal & neoplastic tissue


Biospecimen Resource Facility: Secure Long-Term Storage

  • Secure, off-site facility with 24 hour / 7 day a week, real-time video surveillance
  • Continuous and redundant monitoring of freezer temperatures and emergency response to users

Biorepository Project Planning

To initiate the project planning process with the Biorepository, please complete the Dartmouth Molecular Epidemiology Biorepository Project Planning Form July 2019 and return it to Biorepository Laboratory Manager, Tom Palys at


Publications resulting from the use of the Biorepository must cite and be linked with the Center for Molecular Epidemiology NIGMS grant number at the time of submission.  All publications must be linked to the grant in the NCBI system, through eRA Commons, to ensure mandatory compliance with the NIH’s Public Access Policy.

The specific language required from NIGMS when crediting the grant is, “Research reported in this publication was supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM104416.”  Please use this exact phrase.

Core Leadership

Brock Christensen, PhD 
professor of epidemiology, community and family medicine, and molecular and systems biology


Elizabeth Barry, PhD
associate professor of epidemiology

Dr. Thomas Palys, research scientist in epidemiology, serves as the Biorepository Laboratory Manager, providing direct day-to-day management of the biorepository operations. Dr. Palys has many years of experience managing research, and clinical and epidemiology laboratory operations in the private and public sectors.