The future of biobanking at CUIMC

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks to a recent $8 million construction award from the National Institutes of Health, we are pleased to announce that CUIMC is poised to break ground on a 4,000-square-foot institutional biobank on the ground level of the Allan Rosenfield Building. The Biobank Resource for Investigating Disease, Genes, and Environment (BRIDGE) facility is projected to open in mid-2024 and will bring together the considerable resources in private biobanks across campus to one centralized infrastructure. In time, this shared resource will greatly accelerate clinical, translational, and basic science research across the medical enterprise.

The facility will house two automated ultra-low temperature freezer systems that can store over 12 million biospecimens. These will replace aging -80°C freezers that are dispersed across campus and allow for greater space and energy efficiency in alignment with CUIMC sustainability initiatives. BRIDGE will also contain laboratory space to support the rapid processing of fluid biosamples, ensuring that specimens are high quality and uniform. The facility service menu has been designed to address the processing and storage needs of existing biobanks with legacy and prospective collections and provide resources for study recruitment, sample collection and processing, storage, and sample annotation as core services for individual investigators.

BRIDGE will also support the Columbia University Biobank (CUB), CUIMC’s first institutional research protocol for collection of biospecimens linked to health data. All patients of CUIMC and NewYork-Presbyterian are eligible to enroll under CUB. Consent forms were written to support a wide range of research activities and CUB is working with clinical partners on recruiting patients in several priority research areas.

As the BRIDGE facility prepares to open mid-2024, administration will work with participating biobanks and investigators to standardize workflows, align research protocols, and transition existing sample collections into the sample management system. The VP&S Office for Research welcomes the opportunity to discuss these new initiatives with stakeholders interested in working with CUB on prospective recruitment or using BRIDGE facility resources. For more information, please email or visit the links above.

This is an exciting step forward for our medical center and my thanks go out to all involved in this effort. These shared resources will provide better access to specimens and clinical data, increase our research capacity, and greatly advance our ability to serve broad and diverse populations with our research.

All my best,

Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University