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The Laboratory Robotics Interest Group
Mid Atlantic Chapter

February 2008 Meeting

Automated Biorepositories: Successful Models

Date: Thursday, February 28, 2008
Place: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
  Life Sciences Building - Human Genetics Institute
  145 Bevier Road
  Piscataway, NJ 08854-8009
Directions:, and see below
Parking: Attendees may park in lots 54 and 51 with no permit
Agenda: Tours, Exhibition & Social Period - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
  Meeting & Presentations - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Agenda:  Following last year's extremely successful meeting Biorepositories: An Automation Frontier, LRIG Mid Atlantic is pleased to present a second event focused on this emerging area. We are excited to feature two world class operations in automated biostorage whose implementation strategies present successful models. Our host for this meeting, Dr. David Toke of Rutgers University, has graciously volunteered to conduct tours of the RUCDR biorepository during the social period prior to the presentations.

We are pleased to open up this meeting for exhibits. Providers of automated systems and enabling technologies will display their newest technology and products and be on hand to discuss their solutions.

Food and refreshments will be available FREE OF CHARGE during the Tours, Exhibition & Social Period.

There is always a Job posting board at the social. Please encourage your recruiters to give you material to post and distribute. Openings may also be posted at:

There is no fee to attend the meeting.

For information on participating at this event or future meetings on biobanking, please contact Andy Zaayenga,


bulletApplied Biosystems
bulletAssociation for Laboratory Automation
bulletBrady Corporation
bulletCosmo Bio
bulletHamilton Storage Technologies
bulletHighRes Biosolutions
bulletHudson Control Group
bulletISC BioExpress / Micronic
bulletLabVantage Solutions
bulletManufacturing Applications eXperts
bulletMillipore Bioscience Division
bulletPrinceton CryoTech
bulletREMP, Tecan Group
bulletRTS Life Science
bulletThe Automation Partnership
bulletThermo Fisher Scientific / Matrix Liquid Handling Solutions / Abgene
bulletTitian Software

If you are interested in exhibiting at this meeting, please review our Exhibitors Information page.

Door Prizes:

bulletALA: Binoculars
bulletALA: Luggage Tags
bulletALA: Messenger Bag
bulletLRIG: Photon Keyring Lights
bulletand more... most exhibitors bring their donations to the meeting

Tours: Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR)
Dr. David Toke, Associate Managing Director, Rutgers University Cell & DNA Repository (RUCDR)
From 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Dr. Toke will conduct tours of the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository.

Dr. David Toke is the Associate Managing Director of the Rutgers University Cell & DNA Repository (RUCDR) under the Scientific Direction of Dr. Jay Tischfield, Chair of the Department of Genetics. The RUCDR receives over 30,000 samples per year from 500 collection sites around the world. They have distributed over 400,000 Biosamples to investigators for the purpose of finding the genetic causes of common, complex diseases. He has a Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology from Rutgers University and UMDNJ-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a Masters of Science in Zoology with Emphasis on Human Genetics and a Bachelors of Science in Biology.

Dr. Toke is the Project Manager for the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disease (NIDDK) contract part of the National Institutes of Health and Principal Investigator and Project Manager for the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN)contract at Rutgers. In addition to his activities with the RUCDR, he is a Research Professor in the Department of Genetics and Laboratory Manger for the Department. He was nominated for the 2005 Presidential Award for outstanding service to the University for his role in designing the laboratory and core facilities in the Human Genetics Institute at Rutgers. He has been a Managing Director of the RUCDR since 1999 and has over twenty years of cell culture and management experience. He currently serves on the National Council of The International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). In addition, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cell Preservation Technology (CPT) and on the IT committee for the Department of Genetics and the RUCDR. Lastly, Dr. Toke has certification for working with Human Subjects, certified as a Clinical Laboratory Specialist in Cytogenetics and has received certification training in the shipping of biological specimens, diagnostic specimens and dangerous goods.

Presentation:   ISBER
Dr. David Toke, Associate Managing Director, Rutgers University Cell & DNA Repository (RUCDR)
ISBER is the leading international forum that addresses the technical, legal, ethical, and managerial issues relevant to repositories of biological and environmental specimens. Dr. Toke will present a brief overview of ISBER; including advantages of membership, corporate sponsors, Best Practices 2nd Edition, and the annual meeting in May at Bethesda.

Presentation:  Development and validation of the UK Biobank sample handling, processing and archiving protocol
Tim Peakman, Executive Director, UK Biobank

UK Biobank is a large prospective study established in the United Kingdom to determine the role of genetic factors, environmental exposures and lifestyle in the causes of major diseases of late and middle age. Extensive data and biological samples are being collected from 500,000 participants aged between 40 and 69 years. Which biological samples are collected and how they are processed and stored will have a major impact on the future value of the UK Biobank resource. The UK Biobank sample handling and storage protocol has been carefully designed to future proof the study (i.e. to avoid, as far as can be predicted, processing or storage approaches that will preclude current or future assays) and to provide a resource that would give the maximum scientific value within the available budget. The protocol was developed through a thorough review of the literature on sample handling and processing as well as wide consultation within the academic community. This approach addressed issues such as which samples should be collected, how and when they should be processed, and how the processed samples should be stored to ensure their long term integrity. The factors involved in developing the final protocol will be discussed. The recommended protocol was also extensively tested in a series of pilot studies conducted by collaborating groups throughout the UK. Using a variety of technologies to assay the genome, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome, these studies examined the stability of a wide range of components of blood and urine maintained at either 4?/font>C or 18?/font>C for varying times prior to processing and cryopreservation. An overview of the results of these pilots will be presented. The sample processing and archiving protocol adopted by UK Biobank provides a feasible approach to quality and throughput that reflects the size and aims of the project within the available funding.

Tim Peakman is Executive Director for UK Biobank and has overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Tim started work at UK Biobank in April 2004 as the director of operations and has led the design, implementation and operation of the study. With ten year research experience in the pharmaceutical industry and as a senior consultant in drug discovery, Tim brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to UK Biobank. As a consultant, at PricewaterhouseCoopers, he advised discovery organisations in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries on a variety of projects addressing productivity of early drug discovery pipelines. His particular interest was the effective planning and implementation of automation in complex drug discovery processes. He has written a number of papers on transferring process and methodology from industrialisation in other industries and on implementing supply chain disciplines to high throughput screening. In the pharmaceutical industry, Tim worked on humanising monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of HIV and autoimmune disease. Later his research focused on the molecular events leading to epilepsy and pain. He completed his doctoral studies on bacterial anaerobic gene regulation at the University of Birmingham in 1988.

Presentation:  Implementation of the UK Biobank
Paul Downey, Director of Operations, UK Biobank

UK Biobank is a new organisation, set up to facilitate efficient medical and scientific research. The project will recruit 500,000 volunteer members of the public over a period of three years. The volunteers provide detailed information about the health and lifestyle and consent to access to their health care records. This will form a valuable resource that can be rapidly accessed by research organisations.

In order to deliver the project, a national network of recruitment clinics has been established to receive and process the volunteer participants. A biological specimen processing factory has been constructed and an automated biological specimen repository developed, having the capacity to process and store the 14,000,000 sample aliquots that will be created.

The use and delivered benefits of utilising modern manufacturing practices to design implement and operate a sample processing facility will be discussed. The use of appropriate techniques during the evolving phases of the project: the research and design phase, the operations development phase and the operational phase will be covered. Selection and implementing appropriate culture and quality systems at the phases of the project to support the organisational objectives will be discussed.

Paul Downey took up his post as Director of Operations for the UK Biobank in July 2004 after seven years supplying automation systems to industry and the experience of setting up and managing a DNA bank,. Paul is responsible for the development and management of the UK Biobank laboratory and clinical facilities. Given the project scale, coordinating the collection, transport, fractionation and storage of samples for future analysis is a complex task. Paul previously worked as a project Director at Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research (CIGMR), based at the University of Manchester, where is set up and managed the Medical Research Council (MRC) DNA bank Paul graduated with a BSc in Biology from Lancaster University and the University of Florida, Gainsville in June 1998. Paul is also a Director of a Manchester-based biotechnology company and is completing an MBA with the University of Leicester Management School.

Presentation:   The Pfizer Liquid Store, DNA & BioFluids REMP Store
Craig Hines, Manager, Liquid Store Center of Emphasis, Pfizer - Kings Heights Technology Center
Diane Johnson, Head of DNA & BioFluids Center of Emphasis, Pfizer - Kings Heights Technology Center
Leonid Vodonos, Facility Manager, Pfizer - Kings Heights Technology Center

This presentation will discuss the Kings Heights Technology Center scientific business objectives in conjunction with the facility support infrastructure and operational service delivery model. The presenters will provide details of the unique relationship between the Kings Heights Scientific Lines and Global Operations that laid foundation for a dynamic and State-of-the-Art technological facility.

Recently Global Operations has collaboratively developed and implemented a wide variety of business specific services including Processing Labs humidity control, management of service contracts based on contractual partnership, scheduling and coordination of preventative maintenance, demand repair work, handling service related documentation, Facility Center asset management, 24/7 monitoring and equipment emergency response, production process consumable supply/tracking and lab support technical services. Global Operations has made a commitment to deliver cost-effective services and solutions that enhance scientific productivity.

The timelines for design, manufacture, and installation of the REMP Stores will be presented. As well as a number of functionalities that was developed for the Liquid Store, DNA & BioFluids REMP store & laboratories.

Craig received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1980 where he was also licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a Reactor Operator for the university research nuclear reactor. Upon graduation he was an R&D engineer for DuPont at the Savannah River Laboratory, specializing in the solvent extraction of Uranium and Plutonium from irradiated fuel. Later, he was a shift supervisor for several of the nuclear reactors at the Savannah River Plant. He joined Northeast Utilities in 1987 to teach Nuclear Reactor Theory and Thermodynamics to the operators at the four nuclear power plants in Connecticut and was licensed as a Senior Reactor Operator. During his tenure with Northeast Utilities, he also spent eight years as an engineering supervisor for instrument and controls engineers at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station. Craig joined Pfizer in 2001 and was the business lead for several large automation initiatives at the Kings Heights Technology Center. In 2003 he transitioned to the role of operational manager responsible for supporting the daily production activities for Material Management at Kings Heights. As part of that role, he was responsible for representing the business during the design, construction, and testing of the automation to support the DNA & BioFluids Center of Emphasis. In April of this year, he was appointed to his current position as the lead for the Liquid Store Center of Emphasis but continues in an advisory role on the operation of the REMP -20/-80 store for the storage and retrieval of DNA & BioFluids.

Diane research has centered in the field of Drug Metabolism, Laboratory Automation, High Throughput Technologies and Material Management during her career at Pfizer Global Research & Development. Currently she is the Head of Pfizer DNA & BioFluids Center of Emphasis at Kings Heights Technology Center in Groton, CT. Additionally, Diane serves as a role model for Women in Technology, a program at the Community College of Rhode Island committed to helping women and minorities to understand more fully the opportunities that are available in technology related programs of study.

Lenny received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic College, Minsk, Belarus and Facility Management Designation from BOMI (Building Owners and Manages Institute International), Hartford, USA. During his career, he worked as a supervisor at Minsk Subway construction, Project Manager at new Minsk International Airport, and Facility Manager at Belarusian Academy of Science. He jointed Pfizer in 1998 and developed relevant expertise in the areas of: All phases of facility and project management, Building start up and commissioning, Development and implementation of operational M&O programs, Lab Instrumentation services program development and administration, Contract administration and outsourcing strategies. Lenny received a Pfizer Global Operations Excellence Award in 2007 for his supporting role in the BioBank project development and -20 /-80C cooling system design.

Presentation:  The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository
Dr. Andrew Brooks, Associate Director of Technology Development for the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR)

The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) is among the largest academic repositories in the world. The scope of the repository grows every year and includes service offerings that range from DNA extraction to cell line immortalization in addition to a considerable sample distribution program. Currently the RUCDR maintains several large federal respoitories for the following NIH institutes: NIAAA, NIDA, NIMH and NIDDK. Additionally, the RUCDR services several foundation projects that include and are not limited to the Simons Autism Foundation and the New Jersey Tourettes collection. In total the RUCDR currently manages over 60 different clinically based projects through these and other agencies which help geneticists around the world understand the genetic basis for over 25 different diseases. In order to coordinate the collection and processing of samples from over 400 collection sites worldwide and manage over 1 million cell line aliquots and 750,000 samples in mechanical storage the RUCDR has developed several sophisticated automation schemes to handle many aspects of the RUCDR workflow. The structure of the RUCDR, a description of its automation infrastructure and a detailed overview of the programs services will be discussed.

Dr. Brooks is Director of the Bionomics Research and Technology Center. He currently holds an appointment as an Associate Professor of Envrionmental Medicine and Genetics at UMDNJ / Rutgers. Additionaly, Dr. Brooks is the Associate Director of Technology Development for the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR). Dr. Brooks laboratory has three main areas of interest. First, his group works on deciphering the molecular mechanisms that underlie memory and learning. They utilize a variety of technologies for genetic modification as well as investigate gene-environment interactions in the context of aging, neurodegenerative disease and neurotoxicant exposure. Their research utilizes many high-throughput genomics based technologies to study these areas. Second, his group is involved in the development of novel informatics approaches to better understand complex genomics-based data sets. The team has recently developed a novel method for interpreting complex gene expression data sets as a function of biological relevance. This approach is being utilized both in the basic science and clinical arenas. Lastly, Dr. Brooks?team is engaged in a number of technology development programs. Currently, they are developing new applications in the area of transcript profiling and protein profiling that can be applied to both standard and novel technology platforms. Dr. Brooks has held regional positions such as Director of the AMDeC Microarray Resource Center, which helps coordinate all microarray and genomics related activities for New York State. On a national level, Dr. Brooks recently chaired the Microarray Research Group for the Association of Biomedical Resource Facilities.

Note: These presentations will be archived on our Presentations page:


Beginning at 3:00 PM we have a Deli Buffet with:
Super Beef with Roast Beef, Pastrami & Muenster on Pumpernickel
Sloppy Joe with Turkey, Ham & Swiss on Rye with Russian dressing
Mozzarella, Basil & Roasted Red Pepper on French Bread & Red Bliss Potato Salad

Then at 4:00 PM we serve Hot entrees:
Italian & Garlic Breads, Whole Green Beans and Caesar Salad
Fried Chicken, Four Cheese Baked Pasta; Tricolor Rotini with Fresh Vegetables Aioli

Accompanying the buffet and entrees:
Assorted Soda & water
Brownies & Assorted Layer cakes
Fresh Brewed Coffee, Decaf & Tea
Cash bar

Food and refreshments are free of charge to attendees - they are paid for by the exhibitors, so please be sure to visit all their tables!


Detailed directions may be found at <>.

Do not believe your GPS! We found out the hard way that the GPS maps put you into the "other" section of Bevier Road which is not contiguous with the section where you will find the Life Science Building. For you GPS techies, the LSB is actually at Latitude 40?1'27.41"N, Longtitude 74?7'49.01"W.

We've posted a Google map at <,-74.463626&spn=0.005978,0.009978&t=h&z=17&msid=105337714125451318779.00044649eeb95c5ce70ab>

also embedded here:

View Larger Map

Local Hotels:

Embassy Suites Piscataway - Somerset
121 Centennial Avenue
Piscataway, New Jersey, 08854
Tel: 1-732-980-0500
Radisson Hotel Piscataway
21 Kingsbridge Road
Piscataway NJ 08854
Reservations: (888) 201-1718, Telephone: (732) 980-0400


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