The Sheffield Biorepository



Questions about our facility and the services we offer


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  1. What is a biorepository?

    A biorepository is a facility that stores, secures and distributes biological specimens. Our biorepository stores human tissue, mainly under cryogenic conditions, and fully complies with the requirements set out under the Human Tissue Act 2004.

  2. What is HTA regulation?

    The Human Tissue Act 2004 covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It established the HTA to regulate activities concerning the removal, storage, use and disposal of human tissue. Consent is the fundamental principle of the legislation and underpins the lawful removal, storage and use of body parts, organs and tissue. Different consent requirements apply when dealing with tissue from the deceased and the living. The Human Tissue Act 2004 lists the purposes for which consent is required (these are called Scheduled Purposes).

  3. Who are the staff members within the Sheffield Biorepository?

    The Sheffield Biorepository has the following key members of university staff working within, and responsible for it's activities, on a daily basis:

    Francesco S di Giovine - Biorepository Director

    Steve Haynes - Biorepository Manager

    Helen Murden - Core Facilities Technician

  4. When do my study samples need to be transferred to the biorepository?

    Samples collected in compliance with HTA consent that are to be used in future research projects, or samples needing to be stored in the biorepository after a REC approved research project has ended, must be stored in an HTA licenced facility.

    Below is a more detailed explanation of these HTA requirements:

    An HTA licence is for the storage for use in research, not the use itself. Specific research projects undertaken with approval from recognised Research Ethics Committee (REC) committees (or for which approval by such a committee is pending), do not require an HTA storage licence.

    The HTA and National Research Ethics Service (NRES) have agreed a position whereby NHS Research Ethics Committees (RECs) can give generic ethical approval for a research tissue bank's arrangements for collection, storage and release of tissue, providing the tissue in the bank is stored on HTA-licensed premises. This approval can extend to specific projects receiving non-identifiable tissue from the bank. The tissue does not then need to be stored on HTA-licensed premises; nor does it need project specific ethical approval.

  5. What storage systems are available?

    We have a range of facilities to meet all your storage requirements:

     -80c freezer banks

     Liquid Nitrogen Storage Tanks

     A range of cold storage from 4c to -20c

     FFPE Storage Areas

     Boxes for Slide Cataloging

     Whole Tissue Storage Location

  6. How are storage systems monitored?

    The Tutela monitoring system is installed connecting all freezers to a centralised monitoring centre. The contact centre is provides a 24/7 fully manned human Alarm Response Team – based in the UK.

    All freezer units will alarm if the temperature rises above -70C, or if contact is lost with a unit for more than 30 minutes.We are notified of any alarms by the trained operators following a pre-arranged contact list of Biorepository staff, ensuring absolute viability of your samples stored at our facility. Furthermore continuous temperature monitoring data is always available for our staff via an online access portal.

  7. What security is in place for my samples?

    The biorepository storage facilities are all within locked rooms at the Royal Hallamshire site. Security staff are available 24/7 and will immediately respond to any alarms. The freezer banks and liquid nitrogen facilities outside the mai nhospital buildings have burglar alarms fitted and are behind locked gates. All cryo-storage areas can only be accessed by biorepository staff with access to multilock keys.

  8. I have samples and would like to find out about storage

    Please see the services section for the types of storage we can offer you.

    Contact us by email with any questions about your sample types and the duration of storage available in the biorepository.

  9. What are the costs of storing my samples in the biorepository?

    Please contact us with details of your samples for our internal and external pricing.