A primary goal of the UAB Tissue Biorepository is the education of researchers in several areas. These include: the feasibility of obtaining human tissue specimens for research, limitations of tissues for specific methods, approaches to enrich tissues to specific cell types, and optimal tissues to solve specific research problems. The UAB-TBR also attempts to educate other institutions in biorepository operations, including how to establish and manage a human tissue biorepository.

The staff of the UAB TBR is involved in a number of activities to support these educational endeavors:

  • Feedback to Researchers–We often provide feedback to investigators submitting applications for specimens, to educate them on what specimens are available, to make their request more feasible. We also aid investigators in the choice of optimal tissues to serve specific research problems, as well as discussing with them the limitations of such tissues.
  • IRB Submission/HIPAA Authorization–We can assist with IRB submissions and/or HIPAA authorization by providing language for applications, by providing documentation to the IRB when needed, and/or by assisting UAB investigators in obtaining the appropriate signatures for the Pathology Release Forms. Investigators requesting assistance with IRB/HIPAA issues should contact the UAB-TBR Associate Director, Kathy Sexton, ksexton@uabmc.edu.
  • Grant Support–We can provide personalized letters of support for grant and/or contract submissions; contact Kathy Sexton, ksexton@uabmc.edu.
  • International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER)ISBER is a global biobanking organization that creates opportunities for networking, education, and innovations and harmonizes approaches to evolving challenges in biological and environmental repositories. ISBER fosters collaboration, creates education and training opportunities, provides an international showcase for state-of-the-art policies, processes, and research findings, and innovative technologies, products, and services. Together, these activities promote best practices that cut across the broad range of repositories that ISBER serves. UAB has been involved in the development of all editions of “ISBER’s Best Practices for Borepositories.”  In addition, UAB-TBR staff often teaches workshops at ISBER meetings.  Dr. Grizzle and Kathy Sexton serve on multiple ISBER committees.
  • Workshops–The UAB-TBR staff offers workshops on biorepository related and responsible conduct of research utilizing biospecimen topics.
    • The biorepository related workshop includes a 4-hour session, “Designing and Maintaining a Tissue Biorepository,” at ISBER annual meetings. An accompanying workshop manual offered to attendees includes information on:
      • Collection and processing of human tissues for research
      • Practical factors in collecting tissues for research
      • Guidelines for shipping specimens
  • The UAB-TBR will coordinate/arrange a bioethicsworkshop for other biorepositories and biospecimen science investigators. This workshop covers a wide range of topics, including the responsible conduct of research that utilizes biospecimens. This will be accomplished in collaboration with the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL. The leaders of the UAB-TBR are actively involved in these efforts.
  • Those wishing to obtain copies of any of the information from the manual, or of the slides provided during the workshop should contact Kathy Sexton: (ksexton@uabmc.edu).
  • Publications–The leadership of the UAB-TBR has been instrumental in the dissemination of information to improve biorepository operations, to increase the supply of high-quality human tissues to national and international investigators involved in cancer research. The UAB-TBR personnel have contributed to the development of all editions of the ISBER Best Practices and contributed to the development of the NCI Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources.