A full spectrum of sample accessioning, processing and storage services are available through the Biospecimens Accessioning and Processing Core. The core laboratory uses Research Laboratory Information Management System (RLIMS), a robust and integrated Mayo Clinic-developed system, to track and manage specimen data.

Infrastructure support

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


Using RLIMS, the core lab associates specimens to Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board-approved studies and projects 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 of specimens 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 are stored at either ambient temperature, minus 20 degrees Celsius, minus 80 degrees Celsius or in liquid nitrogen, with their locations tracked in RLIMS. The storage capacity is 2.5 million tubes and will expand to 6 million in 2014, with additional growth capacity to 20 million tubes. The core's freezers are monitored by a TempTrak freezer monitoring system.


International Air Transport Association (IATA)-trained staff prepare 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.