Columbia University Biobank

The Columbia University Biobank was created as an institutional biobanking resource to:

  1. Create standardized IRB protocol and consent form language to enable broad data and sample sharing and future use allowances. 
  2. Provide an all-in-one biobanking services for targeted enrollment of specific patient populations based on investigator requirements. 
  3. Perform ongoing enrollment of NYP/CUIMC patients to create a standing, longitudinal biobank of samples and clinical data available for query by researchers.

To fulfill these aims, CUB has created an umbrella protocol that allows for enrollment of all NYP/CUIMC patients, with the possibility for serial sample collection and access to residual clinical specimens, recontact of patients for additional research, access to EHR data, genomics research and return of results, a "living model” consent addendum for stem cell research, and the possibility of partnerships with researchers at for-profit entities. As this protocol is maintained centrally, use of the CUB protocol reduces administrative burden on individual PIs and ensures the protocol remains up-to-date with the latest research standards.

CUB can work with groups and individual PIs to assist with participant enrollment in several ways:

All-in-One Biobanking

CUB can partner with departments, centers, and other groups to perform start-to-finish enrollment, collection, processing, and storage for specific patient groups under the CUB protocol. Participants can be identified based on the location of their clinical care or their clinical diagnosis, and CUB staff will work with clinical care teams to determine the best methods to enrollment (which can take place both remotely and in person).

With all-in-one biobanking, blood samples are obtained via Epic order during the participant’s next clinical visit, and samples are routed for standard processing and storage in the BRIDGE facility. All samples are tracked in the OpenSpecimen system.

Alternatively, in cases where specialized sample types or processing protocols are needed, CUB can assist with patient enrollment while leaving sample procurement and processing up to the individual PI’s laboratory.

Protocol Consultation

CUB staff can meet with PIs planning to develop new biobanks to determine whether the CUB protocol can be used for their research. CUB staff can also review existing IRB protocols to determine if they incorporate the same elements as the CUB protocol.

Special Patient Populations

CUB recruitment staff have extensive experience with working with diverse patient populations. CUB staff can meet with interested investigators to advise on engagement methods that may be best suited to enroll special patient populations into research biobanks.

Contact the Office for Research to get started with CUB

Access Existing Samples

CUB has been enrolling patients into the CUIMC-wide biobank since 2020. These samples are available for use by all Columbia researchers, although all requests must be reviewed and approved before they can be distributed for researcher use.

To determine whether CUB may have samples suitable for a specific research project, please contact the Office for Research.

Once you have determined that samples of interest are available, please fill out the form below to formally request samples.

Request Forms

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Researchers

What is the Columbia University Biobank?

The Columbia University Biobank (CUB) has been established to create a central repository of patient 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?

Materials collected under CUB will be available for use by CUIMC researchers. CUB materials may also be available for external sharing with outside collaborators, corporate entities, and beyond.

Who decides how samples and data are shared?

The CUB’s Sample and Data Access Committee will oversee sample and data access requests, provide guidance on scientific strategy, consider the inclusion of new sample collections, and facilitate collaboration when possible. 

What do participants agree to when they’re enrolled?

All participants will provide consent to allow access to their electronic health record, collection of additional samples or replenishment of depleted samples, genomic research and return of clinically-confirmed results, the ability to be re-contacted for participation in additional research studies, and other study-related activities 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 make any data and results generated from CUB materials available for sharing with the broader CUIMC community. 

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 CUB Sample and Data Access Committee. Additional information about required approvals for CU researchers is also available online.

For Industry

Who can I contact with questions?

Please contact Danielle Pendrick with any questions.