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Tissue Procurement and Biorepository 

Access to Tissue

The Tissue Biorepository is a component of the Research Core facilities of the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Its mission is to support the human tissue needs of UC Irvine Health research protocols and associated institutions.

Other services of the Research Core include:

  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Special staining
  • Nucleic acid purification and diagnostics
  • Laser capture microdissection
  • Other services.

The biorepository provides fresh surgical specimens of many kinds that are in excess of clinical needs. These tissues can be provided as frozen specimens or maintained as special media for support of tissue culture and other time-sensitive protocols. Tissue is provided to investigators by coordination with the biorepository manager (see "Inquiries" below).

Disposition of all human tissue samples are the responsibility of the Department of Pathology. Tissue may not be taken directly from operating rooms or any clinic without approval by a pathologist, who must inspect the tissue and determine how much (if any) is not needed for diagnostic purposes and can be spared for a research project. An exception may be permitted for tissues that are not normally examined, such as normal placentas, discarded normal skin or other tissues from purely cosmetic procedures without underlying or history of disease. A list of these exempted tissues is available in the UC Irvine Health Hospital Rules and Regulations.

Archival formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue is also available. Biorepository clients can request the selection, retrieval, sectioning and staining of human tissue sections from departmental archives spanning 1993 to the present. Depending on the level of IRB approval obtained, clients may also obtain associated clinical outcome data. Archival tissues may be used for preparing slides of various thicknesses, RNA and DNA preparation, for immunohistochemistry, special staining, genomics analyses and many other services of the research core facilities. Those interested in making tissue microarrays should inquire (see "Inquiries" below). Whole tissue blocks held for less than 10 years will not be released, with the exception of a requirement by a therapeutic clinical trial where examination of the block by an outside laboratory is required for inclusion of the subject into the trial.

The biorepository maintains a retrospective collection of frozen tissues available for research (see "Inquiries" below). In addition, the biorepository cooperates in the development of specialized collections, obtaining informed consents, obtaining a wide range of clinical follow-up information and many other aspects of research protocols.


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.

UC Irvine Health Internal Review Board

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.


Delia Tifrea, biorepository manager, 714-872-1093
Dan Mercola, director, 949-824-1298
Robert Edwards, director, archival tissue procurement, 949-824-8974 
TBN, director, anatomic pathology, 714-456-6141