Biorepository and Tissue Technology


Alfredo Molinolo, MD, PhD


Sharmeela Kaushal, PhD
Biorepository Manager


The mission of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Biorepository is to provide high quality, well-characterized cancer-related human tissue specimens and biological materials to UC San Diego members and collaborators. The specific objectives of the shared resource are:

  • To procure, process and preserve, malignant, benign and non-neoplastic solid tissue with matching blood and urine in centralized bioerepository
  • To maintain a validated, highly annotated (pathological and clinical) biospecimen collection from human and experimental sources
  • To facilitate compliance with all mandated regulatory processes (IRB, HIPAA, PRMC), thereby promoting ethical research by UC San Diego researchers
  • Providing investigators from UC San Diego and scientific partners with high quality annotated biospecimens from human and experimental animals
  • To provide pathologic consultation to investigators using human specimens for scientific correlation
  • Development and continuous improvement of policies and processes for collection and management of biospecimens
  • Developing of national and international collaborations to harmonize biospecimen and biobanking standards and to efficiently prioritize, disperse and track specimens via a rapid and standardized approval and monitoring process
  • To provide a point of interactions and sample sharing for scientific researchers from UC San Diego and scientific partners through a highly annotated biospecimens database
  • To support UC San Diego research community and its scientific partners with high-quality preparation and processing of frozen and fixed tissues, and other cytological and histological samples
  • To provide the UC San Diego research community and its scientific partners with up-to-date technology and histological approaches for biomarker discovery and validation
  • To provide education and training on the use and application of histology and histopathology techniques and equipment
  • To provide education regarding the essentials of histology and histopathology, including pathophysiology and normal and neoplastic tissue pattern recognition.

Service Profile


The Biorepository contains plasma, serum, RNA stabilized buffy coat, urine, viable tumor samples, and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor — all with associated clinical information. These can be provided to investigators with Cancer Sample Banking Committee approval. (IRB approval is also required for projects requesting ongoing sample collection or clinical annotation.) Urine and blood-derived specimens are available from a wide variety of cancer cases and cancer-free controls. Tumor sample availability is more limited. Samples are collected from consented subjects, and de-identified clinical information on the subjects is available. Subjects are consented for research germ line genotyping. Access to the clinical annotation is determined based on need as justified in each investigator's request or protocol.

Anonymized samples from the biorepository are available compliant with UC San Diego HRPP exempt category 4.

For projects requiring ongoing sample collection or clinical annotation, Human Subjects Research Review is required. For outside users, the biorepository can assist with identifying a UC San Diego clinical investigator to collaborate on this process.

Tissue Technology Biomarker

Biomarker analysis on intact tissue can be performed using three different modalities:

  1. Immunohistochemistry
  2. Immunofluorescence
  3. In situ hybridization using multiple detection systems

The tissue technology center uses a fully automated Ventana Discovery Ultra slide preparation system that can reproducibly perform ICH, ISH, FISH and Qdot immunofluorescence techniques on the same instrument platform. This permits time-effective optimization of the most sensitive/specific detection method for any biomarker. IHC, ISH, FISH, and FITC tests may be performed independently or simultaneously. The capability to perform IF and FISH technique on the same tissue section permits the greatest flexibility in the localization of biomarker expression. The system provides extensive options to perform multiple assays (up to 30 slides per run) for more accurate semi-quantitative Immunohistochemistry / immunofluorescence and an efficient capability for methods development to validate and to develop new biomarkers."

See more information on tissue technology services.


A phenotypic evaluation of animal models of human disease is critical in the understanding of the pathogenesis and the processes involved. A careful examination (always with the organs and tissues from littermate controls) of completely back-crossed genetically altered mice, at different ages, is required . A comprehensive histopathologic review, hematology analyses, chemistry panels and a variety of behavioral tests will help to accomplish some of these goals. The histotechnologists and the experienced pathologist in this sub-core educate and facilitate a thorough histologic and immunohistologic comparative analysis of tissues from wild type and genetically altered mice, and especially focuses on mouse models of human disease.

See more information on histology and immunohistochemistry services.