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Research Services

Research Services are a group of facilities and personnel that serve UCI's research community with anatomic and clinical laboratory services, instrumentation, and professional interpretive services that support research efforts in the basic, translational, and clinical trials research spaces. Our Pathologists support research efforts in the School of Medicine, The Ayala School of Biological Sciences, the Samueli School of Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the School of Public Health.

The portal for research services is the Experimental Tissue Resource (ETR), which is co-administered by the Cancer Center and Pathology, within the Department of Pathology. The ETR handles requests for archival human tissue samples and non-human histology services purely for research purposes, as well as requests for prospective collection of fresh or flash-frozen human tissues for research, clinical trials, or tissue banking, and archival tissue requests for patient care-related cases. 


Director: Robert Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: 949.824.8576, 714.456.6141

Basic Research Services Manager: Kehui Wang
Phone: 949.824.8974

Research Histology Specialist: Jeffrey Kim
Phone: 714.456.5023

Finance Manager: Lorena Yalung
Phone: 949.824.5827


Basic Research Services »

ETR provides UC Irvine Health researchers with dependable and economical assistance in obtaining and analyzing human tissue, blood and serum samples. 

The primary objective of the Experimental Tissue Shared Resource (ETR) is to provide basic, translational and clinical researchers access to, and analysis of human and animal tissues.

  • Four component services are offered:
    • Routine tissue histology/immunohistochemistry (IHC)
    • Tissue analysis, including laser capture microscopy (LCM)
    • Mouse pathology services
    • Genotyping services

The histology component has provided high-quality service at below-market recharge rates, with short turn-around times to UCI faculty who are mainly pursuing basic and translational research on human cancer specimens or studying rodent models of human disease. Whenever required, we customize services to meet the special needs of investigators. These features have made our histology services superior to those available from commercial vendors, contributing to usage growth. The resource continues to evolve, integrating expertise in specialty analytical services, mouse pathology, histopathology consultation, and molecular pathology which will assist UCI investigators using prognostic and diagnostic gene signatures.

Services Provided:

  • Tissue Histology & IHC: The main purpose of this core is to provide histology services, such as processing, sectioning, H&E staining of tissue sections, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy
  • Tissue Analysis: A secondary function is to provide image analysis and laser capture microdissection (LCM). The core offers the use of a Leica AS-LMD laser microdissection instrument and a Leica CM-3050 cryostat, located on the Irvine campus in Medical Sciences D stack.
  • For image analysis, a multi-spectral fluorescence microscope (CRi Nuance) and an Aperio Digital Pathology workstation are available for image archiving/exchange and quantitative morphometric analysis.
  • Mouse Pathology: Dr. Edwards is a board-certified surgical pathologist with fifteen years experience with mouse models of human disease. Dr. Edwards provides murine histopathology services for many researchers at UC Irvine.
  • CLIA-certified Molecular Diagnostics (Nucleic Acid isolation, genotyping and gene expression characterization for human disease diagnostics and prognostics.)



Since core services require the use of tissue derived from either humans or vertebrate animals in almost all cases, investigators are required to document that research projects have been subjected to either the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and/or Human Research Protections’ Institutional Review Board (IRB)when requesting services. This documentation includes a copy of the approval letter, which is kept on file. Compliance with these institutional policies is rigorously enforced. Failure to supply the necessary information will result in a delay in the provision of requested services.  We encourage investigators’ questions about the level of Research Protections review that will be necessary for a given project, be it exempt, expedited, or a full review. 

Cost to Investigator

The activities of the core are underwritten in part by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the form of a Cancer Center Support Grant and by the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Investigators are recharged for the marginal costs associated with each service. For some services, a specific order form with recharge rates is determined for individual projects, in consultation with the Shared Resource director.

Ordering Services through the ETR:

Download the ETR Histology Requisition form. The completed form may be printed and included with submitted samples, or emailed to Jeff Kim (research histotechnologist) at

For investigators on the UCI campus, the tissue drop-off/pickup station is located in room D426D, Medical Sciences I, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Courier pickup is daily at 11:00 a.m.

Pack the samples securely in a sturdy box. Tightly seal any containers filled with formalin (samples already fixed can also be transferred/stored in 70% EtOH to prevent over-fixation. Be sure to specify that samples are to be returned by courier also.

For outside (non-UCI) investigators, samples may be shipped to:

Experimental Tissue Resource
c/o Jeffrey Kim
Room 4400, Building 54
UC Irvine Medical Center
101 The City Drive
Orange, CA 92868

For questions or more information, contact:

Robert Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Pathology
ETR Director
Phone: 949.824.8576, 714.456.6141
Fax: 714.456.5873

Clinical Research, Clinical Trials, and Patient Care Tissue Services »


Director: Robert Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: 949.824.8576, 714.456.6141

Facility Manager: Anne Sawyers, CCRP
Phone: 714.456.8975 

Services Offered:

There are four general types of clinical research, clinical trials, or patient care-related tissue requests handled by the biorepository within the ETR:

  1. UCI Investigators with IRB approval to obtain fresh human tissues for research purposes.  Following examination by the on-service or on-call Pathologist, excess tissue is disbursed to investigators in accordance with their approved protocol.
  2. UCI Investigators with IRB approval to obtain fresh human tissues for therapeutic clinical trials: Excess tissue is disbursed to the Investigator or to approved third-party couriers in accordance with the approved protocol.
  3. Requestors within UCI community and from outside institutions requesting re cuts of FFPE tissue blocks for second opinion consultation. This is a ‘pure’ patient care-related request and requires the patients’ signature on the patient authorization release form (UCI Pathology form A-144.1)
  4. Patient initiated requests for long-term tissue storage through the Proactive Personalized Cancer Medicine (PPCM) Initiative

With the exception of a narrowly defined list of exempt specimens (See page 17 in the UC Irvine Health Hospital Rules and Regulations, January 30, 2012),  no tissues removed from patients at UCIMC may be taken directly from operating rooms or clinics without prior examination by a pathologist, who 1) will determine that which is necessary for diagnostic purposes,  and 2) will determine what tissues are remnants that can be used for research purposes.  These rules are a mandatory consequence of 

It is against the UCI Pathology policy to send clinical, FFPE Tissue Blocks for research.  Tissue sections or re cuts of these tissue blocks may be considered by request.

ETR staff work in conjunction with attending Pathologists to manage the collection and disbursement of fresh human tissue and fluids samples for Investigators conducting basic, translational, or clinical research.


IRB approval is required for access to this tissue. The Biorepository is required to maintain a copy of the entire active IRB approval (not just the approval letter) for all protocols requiring biorepository services. All protocols citing the use of human tissue must have either a current IRB approved protocol or a written exemption from the IRB. The latter form is also required for “exempt tissues,” above. Service requests will NOT be processed without the necessary compliance information. Certain requests require approval of the ETR Tissue Advisory Committee.  Depending on IRB approval, it may be possible to provide investigators with additional pathology information. 

Investigators are encouraged to contact Dr. Edwards concerning the availability of tissue prior to submitting projects for IRB approval. Inquiries ed

Cost to Investigator

A signed receipt prepared by the biorepository manager for all tissue provided to researchers must be obtained. The availability of tissue is notified to research as soon as the biorepository manager makes it available. All fresh tissues are recharged at the rate of $25 per case. Archival tissue procurement and histologic services are billed separately; recharge rates and the requisition form are available here as a Word document or pdf. Researchers developing protocols for the use of Biorepository tissue are strongly encouraged to include costs in preparing budgets for grant and other support.

Ordering Services

Download the ETR/Biorepository request form (PDF). Fax the completed form to 714.456.5873 or email it to Anne Sawyers at

For questions or information about the service, contact:

Anne Sawyers, CCRP
Office hours, Monday-Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Medical Center Room 3630
Desk: 714.456.8975
Pager: 714.506.6145
Cell: 858.967.9101
Fax: 714.456.5873 

UC Irvine sample drop and collection:

Medical Sciences I D426D
Contact:  Kehui Wang, MD
Phone: 949.824.8974
Hours:  8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.