My group’s research interests are focused on optimizing, standardizing and enhancing the core functions of the biobank (e.g., specimen collection, processing, storage and shipping). This requires doing specimen-related research that will improve overall sample handling and identifying key processing steps that need to be consistently performed and properly annotated into the biobank’s inventory-tracking system. The biobank plans on performing the necessary scientific investigation to develop needed products to improve biobanking services. These products may include new collection devices that preserve specimens in pristine condition or novel cryo cocktails with antioxidants and apoptotic inhibitors in their formulation that will enhance cryopreservation. Collectively, this involves determining “best biobank practices,” which are based on scientific experimentation.

Projects that are ongoing involve determining the effects of various preanalytical factors that impact isolating and cryopreservation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma. It also involves strategizing how best to take existing biobank operations and designing an automated -80°C/dense storage freezer solution that will interface with our planned biobank informatics specimen tracking system for efficient storage and retrieval of active sample collections.

As a cell biologist, I have more than 20 years of biobanking and scientific project management experience. Before joining Biogen, I worked at BBI Biotech Research Laboratories, a government contractor, as the group director of cell biology and biobanking operations. I oversaw several biobank contracts, a plant-derived compound screening contract that identified novel agents to inhibit HIV and a vaccine-evaluation contract. Later, I joined SAIC-Frederick, Inc., to assist the National Cancer Institute in executing their biobanking-related initiatives, which included the Frederick National Laboratory’s Central Repository, the Cancer Human Biobank (caHUB) and the United States-Latin American Cancer Research Network.

My goal at Biogen is to work with investigators to determine the appropriate specimen type to collect for a particular study, design shipping solutions to safely transport critical specimens between locations, train staff at clinical sites about proper sample handling procedures and be a logistical research study resource, when needed. Educating individuals to be well rounded in all logistical considerations of operating a biobank is an activity that I am passionate about. This is demonstrated by a deep desire to establish in the future a graduate studies program in biobanking science that blends the logistical operations of a biobank with the needed scientific process validation achieved by doing biospecimen-related research.

Education

  • Ph.D., Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1987
  • DPM, Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, 1984

Selected Publications

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