Core Services : Biorepository Core

The Brooks Life Science Systems A3+ SmaRTStore

The John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine unveiled its new, state-of-the-art automated storage and retrieval system for DNA samples which will serve as a cornerstone for genomic research at the Institute.

The Brooks Life Science Systems A3+ SmaRTStore, which has the capacity to store approximately 500,000 samples at -20° Celsius in the Institute’s configuration, is housed in its vast Biorepository at the CGT. The University is one of only a few leading universities to have invested in automated storage.

“The rate of genetic information becoming available is increasing at an exponential rate. The SmaRTStore will substantially increase the speed we can apply this information to the study of common diseases,” said Jeffery M. Vance, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and Director, Center for Human Genomics, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.

With the highest density storage in its class, SmaRTStore delivers reliable, high integrity automated sample management through the integration of a precisely controlled cold environment, robotics, and sample tracking software.

The Institute’s Biorepository has over two decades of experience in storing, receiving, and allocating DNA samples for genetic research studies. The Institute has enhanced this ever-growing process through the acquisition of the Brooks A3+ SmaRTStore. Use of this system will provide a secure and efficient means of allocating specified DNA samples requested for downstream genotyping and sequencing experiments. This storage system, in combination with additional cutting-edge robotic equipment (e.g. DNA extraction and liquid handling) within the Institute’s Biorepository, will help pave the way for expansion and increased efficiency in the ever-growing field of genomics.

“This will be a great resource, a state-of-the-art gift of John Hussman to the Institute,” said Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Human Genomic Programs, Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genomics, and Director, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.

The Institute’s genomic research necessitates complex informatics, with complete tracability for each and every sample. Biological sample collection, processing, storage, and distribution are essential components of large collaborative genomic research studies. The Institute’s Biorepository serves as a biospecimen resource for numerous international and cross-institutional collaborative research studies. The Institute’s Biorepository serves as a centralized biological sample bank for a number of international collaborative studies, like The International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium, whose authors recently published a paper in Nature identifying 29 new variants for MS. In addition, the Biorepository stores samples for cross-institutional collaborative initiatives, such as The Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) and the Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) Study.

Additionally, the Biorepository supports a number of government-funded and foundation grants for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, stroke, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, autism, neural tube defects, deafness, hereditary spastic paraplegia, tuberculosis, genomic signatures of fitness and other disorders.

“We are very excited about the arrival of the Brooks SmaRTStore. This system will help to revolutionize our DNA storage and distribution workflow,” said Jacob McCauley, Ph.D., assistant professor of human genetics and Biorepository director.

The Hussman Institute is home to one of the largest academic Biorepositories in the United States. Its 4,000 square foot facility is monitored round the clock to ensure the security and viability of this tremendous research resource. The facility currently tracks 73 registered research studies, with samples from over 120,000 unique individuals. In total, the Institute currently tracks about 721,694 tubes, derivatives, allocations and iterations of these samples. More than 128,000 of these are DNA samples. The SmaRTStore will safely and securely archive this tremendous DNA resource for current and future genomic research studies. The Hussman Institute chose the SmaRTStore because its capacity will enable continued growth and research expansion.

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