Collection and/or Submission of Samples

New biorepository users can set up an account through the GRCF Cell Center & Biorepository director.

  • Specimens should be cryopreserved in 1-2 cc Nunc-style cryovials. Note that Eppendorf tubes, tubes with rubber caps, and tubes larger than 2 cc are not accepted at this time.
  • Vials have a typewritten, impervious label with the following minimum information: sample designation, sample type, Principal Investigator (PI), and date. Samples from study subjects must not have patient identifiers such as social security number, name, or hospital number. The investigator is responsible for coding the samples to keep the subject’s identity confidential. The code links to the subject’s identity should not be accessible to the GRCF Cell Center & Biorepository.
  • Samples should be submitted with an inventory list (excel table) that includes designations, dates, the species, and type of specimen.
  • Samples destined for clinical tests should not be stored in the repository, this repository is for research specimens only.
  • Only mammalian cells can be stored at the repository—no bacteria or fungi, etc.
  • The following bodily fluids may be deposited at the cell Center:  whole blood, lymphocytes, plasma, and sera. To request consideration to deposit any material not specifically identified, contact the Biorepository & Cell Center director for further discussion.

Accessing Freezer (deposits /withdrawals of samples)

Only the PI/designated person has access to the stored samples.

  • The PI must provide the Biorepository & Cell Center with a list of authorized lab personnel allowed access to these samples.
  • Repository personnel will pull samples of less than 25 samples for you Mon-Thurs, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Fri 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. Requests received after this time may not be processed until the following business day.  Retrieval requests of 25 or greater may require 2 or more business days to pull depending on the request size. The exact timeline will be discussed with the customer.

Ownership of the Samples

All samples stored at the Cell Center & Biorepository require informed consent from the study participant and Institutional Review Board approval for biobanking and distribution. Johns Hopkins University controls ownership of all banked samples collected by Johns Hopkins investigators. Likewise, samples collected by non-Hopkins PIs belong to that PI’s institution. Transfer of Johns Hopkins samples must be arranged with the Johns Hopkins Office of Technology Licensing.

Principal Investigators Leaving Hopkins

PIs leaving Johns Hopkins must contact the Cell Center & Biorepository before they leave to make arrangements for their stored samples. Options:

  • Keep the samples at the Cell Center & Biorepository with the understanding that there is an additional 
charge of 16% (NIH excluded).
  • Transfer the custody of the samples to another Johns Hopkins PI or to the Department chair.
  • Discard the samples. Requests for discarding samples must come from the PI in writing.
  • Transfer samples to a new institution (pending approved Material Transfer Agreement and Department 
chair approval).

Failure to make arrangements for stored samples will result in samples being discarded at the expiration of paid annual term or 60 days after the paid annual term. Every attempt will be made to contact the investigator and his or her department prior to discarding the samples.

E. Releasing Samples to Others

Only the PI/designated person can authorize the release of samples to others. An Authorization of sample release form is required and can be arranged through the director.  All transfers outside the institution require an MTA.

Study Subjects and/or Family members

Study subjects and/or family members cannot make a request directly from the repository that their samples be discarded.
 Study subjects can withdraw consent to participate a study by contacting the Principal Investigator. Should a study subject withdraw from a study, the PI may request, in writing, that all samples and data be destroyed.


PI will be charged quarterly if storing more than 500 samples or annually based on the Academic calendar July-June. Invoices must be paid when due. Annual invoices not paid 60 days after the expiration date of the last payment may result in samples being discarded. Attempts will be made to contact PI to discuss alternative arrangements.

Unclaimed or Unpaid Deposited Materials

In the event Deposited Materials have gone unclaimed or unpaid for one hundred eighty (180) days, the unclaimed or unpaid Deposited Materials will be subject to de-identification and or disposal.

Warranties and liability

Institution and/or Principal Investigators and JHU Investigators acknowledge that the Cell Center operates as a convenience to investigators.  Any Deposited Material delivered to Cell Center pursuant to this agreement is understood to be experimental in nature and may have hazardous properties.  The Cell Center shall not be liable for any act or omission hereunder, including without limitation, any act in connection with any alteration, damage or losses to any Deposited Material delivered to Cell Center, even if the Cell Center is advised of the valuable nature of such Deposited Material.  To the extent permitted under governing law, the Cell Center shall be responsible (as between Institution and Cell Center only) for the direct and actual costs of any loss, damage, alteration, cost or expense arising from the Cell Center’s receipt, storage, replication or distribution of the Deposited Material, and only to the extent and in proportion to the liability caused by the willful misconduct or gross negligence of Cell Center, after any such time as the gross negligence or intentional misconduct has been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.  In no event shall JHU, the Johns Hopkins Health Systems, the Cell Center, its agents, its successors, and their respective directors, officers, members, employees, and agents be liable for any indirect, special, punitive or consequential damages arising from the use, alteration or loss of the Deposited Material.