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Biobank Genomics Core

Sample Handling

Mass General Brigham Personalized Medicine is home to the successful Biobank Genomics Core facility, which provides services across several genomics technologies including high throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS), library construction for NGS, genotyping, and sample handling services.

Our services

The Biobank Genomics Core offers comprehensive support for translational and clinical sequencing and genotyping projects through its extensive sample handling services.

High quality data is driven by high quality samples. The production of quality samples is achieved using highly trained staff following standard operating procedures, using LIMs driven workflows and automated sample handling platforms.

Whole blood processing

Whole blood processing is the preparation of plasma and serum from fresh whole blood. Our lab runs on a nine-to-five schedule, Monday to Friday, and will process samples immediately upon arrival to ensure rapid storage of plasma and serum after blood draw. Please email us to discuss shipment of fresh whole blood from the main Mass General Brigham hospital campuses.

Nucleic acid extraction

We offer a range of DNA extraction services from:

  • Fresh whole blood drawn in purple top K2EDTA or K3EDTA tubes
  • Saliva collected in Oragene OGR-500

We also offer total RNA and miRNA extraction services from PaxGene tubes.

Extraction services include quality control of the extracted sample:

  • DNA — Quantitation of double stranded DNA using picogreen
  • RNA — Quantitation of nucleic acid using Optical Density, and determination of quality of the extraction using RNA integrity number (RIN)

DNA and RNA plating

DNA and RNA plating is carried out using workflows driven by our LIMs to direct our automated liquid handling systems to accurately plate DNA or RNA onto 96-well plates. Samples can be normalized to requested concentrations during this process. Incorporation of control DNA or RNA samples, such as NA12878 DNA or Universal Human Control RNA, can also be requested.

Other sample handling services

Sample storage and retrieval services are available to users performing downstream processing within the MGB Biobank Genomics Core. Currently our storage system allows the storage of the following materials:

  • PaxGene blood tubes for downstream RNA extraction, plating, and NGS processes
  • DNA, RNA, Plasma, Serum, and Buffy coat stored in vials
  • DNA and RNA 96-well plates

Upon arrival, all samples are accessioned into our LIMs. Freezer locations are tracked using unique barcodes. DNA and RNA extractions result in the creation of master tubes and daughter tubes to allow storage of specimens from a subject to be stored within multiple freezers to ensure safe storage of the sample in case of any freezer issue. All freezers are monitored 24/7 using a remote alarm system, and staff are on call 24 hours a day to resolve any issue. Samples are stored as part of a study allowing only access to those samples by PI-approved researchers. Storage is charged per vial, tube, or plate on a monthly basis.