The Biospecimen Accessioning and Processing Core laboratory provides pre-analytical processing of biospecimens. Our goal is to provide the highest-quality biospecimen processing and sample management possible for any type of biospecimen in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

Biospecimens accessioned in the core lab are tracked with a software-based tracking system called Research Laboratory Information Management Systems (RLIMS) as they are routed to other laboratories for analysis and eventually to storage. Biospecimens accessioned through this resource include fresh and frozen tissue, whole blood, and other bodily fluids. Once accessioned, biospecimens can be processed for nucleic acid extraction or frozen for storage as plasma, serum or buffy coats. Other fluids can be aliquoted and stored frozen for future analyses.

Infrastructure support

The core lab's information technology systems and other infrastructure are configured based on specific study needs. This aids in biospecimen collection, transportation, processing, shipping, storage and billing.


The trained laboratory staff is available to meet with study teams to consult on the specific services needed for each study. The consultation can include biospecimen collection, aliquoting strategy and storage. The consulting staff can also provide sample requirements for downstream analysis.


Using RLIMS, the core lab associates biospecimens with patient data under Institutional Review Board-approved protocols and can retrieve study-specific processing instructions. Unique identification numbers are assigned to each individual container received or created, and bar-coded labels are adhered to each container. Patient demographics, sample attributes and storage locations are recorded in RLIMS and can be exported via reports or to databases.

This accessioning serves as a front door for routing biospecimens for downstream services within the Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing Core and also within Mayo Clinic's Medical Genome Facility, which includes core laboratories focused on gene expression, genotyping, next-generation sequencing, proteomics and cytogenetics.

Blood and bodily fluid processing

Blood and bodily fluids can be centrifuged and fractionated manually or by automation. Reagents can be added to the resulting fractions, which can then be stored at ambient temperature or frozen.

DNA purification

DNA can be purified from:

  • Fresh or frozen whole blood
  • White blood cells
  • Frozen or paraffin-embedded tissue
  • Cultured cells
  • Buccal cells
  • Saliva collected in an Oragene kit

Total and double-stranded DNA is quantified using a Trinean spectrophotometer, and the concentration and volume are tracked in RLIMS.

RNA purification

RNA can be purified from:

  • Whole blood collected in a PAXgene Vacutainer
  • Frozen or paraffin-embedded tissue
  • Cultured cells

The RNA is quantified using a spectrophotometer, with the quality determined using an Agilent Bioanalyzer. The concentration, volume and RNA integrity number are tracked in RLIMS.


Samples can be stored at a variety of conditions, including ambient temperature, minus 20 C, minus 80 C and in liquid nitrogen, with their locations tracked in RLIMS. The storage capacity is currently in excess of 5 million 1.4-milliter cryovials, with an additional growth capacity of over 10 million tubes. The core's freezers are monitored by a TempTrak freezer monitoring system.


International Air Transport Association (IATA)-trained staff prepares samples for worldwide shipment using a variety of courier services. Samples can be shipped at ambient, chilled or frozen temperatures.

Kit building

Kits for sample collection and processing can be prepared to include specific collection containers and processing vials, study-specific paperwork and instructions, and return shipping materials. These kits may be shipped directly to the end user or provided to the study team.

Mayo Clinic Bioservices: Our mission

To provide world-class biorepositories and state-of-the-art biospecimen processing and storage with a focus on quality and service.