Columbia University Biobank

The purpose of the Columbia University Biobank (CUB) is to create a centralized resource to collect, process, store and disseminate biological specimens, biomarkers, and health data for Columbia University investigators for use in biomedical research.

The CUB functions under standard operating procedures (SOPs), quality assurance and quality control measures for sample collection and maintenance, and a common database to track consent, samples and manage requests to dispense biological samples and data. 

We adhere to all state and local regulations regarding the use of samples for human subjects research, including but not limited to: NYSDOH, HPRO IRB, etc.

For Patients

What is a biobank?

The purpose of the biobank is to create a research resource with biological samples, such as blood and urine, along with health records to help researchers better understand, treat, and even prevent diseases in the general population.

The CUB is an institutional biobank that is available for all Columbia University researchers to use to support their scientific studies. The biobank is a resource meant to serve the Columbia-NYP research community for years, and there are no plans for it to end.

What kind of research is supported by the CUB?

CUB will support human –omics studies, rapid testing of specific hypotheses and diagnostics related to rare diseases, participation in large multi-center research studies, and rapid translation of discoveries into clinical trials. 

How will you protect patient privacy?

Patient samples will not be sold for profit. Coded samples and data may be shared with researchers at other non-profits or with for-profit companies that are working with Columbia researchers, but no information that could identify a patient will be shared outside CUIMC/NYP.

We will only share information that may identify a patient with approved researchers within CUIMC/NYP.

How can I be a part of the CUB?

Please email or call (212) 305 9941 for more information.

What is the COVID-19 biobank? (Data collection is starting March 2020)

COVID-19 infection is a major challenge around the world.  We will be asking patients to participate in the CUB as a way to support the Columbia research community as we work deepen our understanding of the COVID-19 virus. All patients who have been tested for the COVID-19 virus at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/NewYork Presybterian will be contacted by phone or email and asked to enroll in the CUB by signing a consent form and completing a survey. At this time, we will not be asking patients to provide any additional blood or urine samples.


We welcome any questions from potential participants. Please do not hesitate to contact us at or call (212) 305 9941.

For Researchers

What is the Columbia University Biobank?

The Columbia University Biobank (CUB) has been established to create a central repository of blood and tissue samples that are linked to both genetic data/biomarker data and patient electronic health record (EHR) data.

How does CUB work?

CUB has been designed to support prospective collection of biospecimens and associated data under one IRB umbrella protocol. The centralized nature of the biobank will ensure uniform specimen handling, data quality, and regulatory oversight for biobanking operations.

Who can apply to use CUB samples and/or data?

CUB will be available to everyone: students, researchers, community, collaborators, corporate entities, and beyond.

Who decides how samples and data are shared?

The CUB’s Governance Committee will provide guidance on scientific strategy and consider the inclusion of new sample collections and advise on procedures.

What do participants agree to when they’re enrolled?

All participants will provide consent to allow access to their electronic health record and re-contact for future questionnaires, participation in additional research studies, collection of additional samples or replenishment of depleted samples, and other study-related procedures that may be developed.

What happens with the results that are generated from CUB samples and/or data?

Researchers who use the biological samples will be required to adhere to data sharing principles established by the biobank executive committee. Researchers who use the samples will be required to return data and result generated from the samples to the biobank.

Do I need to submit a protocol for IRB approval to use CUB?

IRB approval is required if identifiable biospecimens and/or data are requested, or if specimens are used for a medical device investigation. Please see additional information for CU researchers. If you are still unsure if IRB approval is required, please submit an informal request using the links below to be contacted with further guidance.

I only require access to data. Do I need to submit a request?

CU researchers can request access to general data via a TRAC request. However, if data collected specifically by CUB are required, a CUB request should be made. If unsure, please fill out the informal request form below for more guidance.

Where can I obtain biological specimens, biomarkers, genomic, clinical and related data of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in order to conduct research and data analysis?

CUIMC has organized a biobank.  All researchers interested in obtaining samples and/or data from the CUB can submit the request form below, which will be reviewed by the Governance Committee. Additional information about required approvals for CU researchers is also available online.

For Industry

How can external entities engage with CUB?

Please review this document for more information.

Who can I contact with questions?

Please contact Danielle Pendrick with any questions.

Request samples (COVID-19-related research only at this time)

  • Make a formal request: This information will be sent to governance committee for evaluation. A request can be made in parallel with required IRB and other approval submissions. However, all approvals must be in place before access will be granted. Only specimen types (lysed buffy coat) that are currently available can be requested. Please see additional information for CU researchers for more information about the request and approval process.
  • Make an informal request: Use this link to request information on potential collaborators and suggest sample types that should be collected. You will be contacted with more information on project feasibility.
  • External request: Use this link if you are not a Columbia University researcher.