UC Davis Adopts OpenSpecimen to Manage Large Biospecimen Projects

Webinar on CAP Accreditation by University of California, Davis Biorepository


The University of California, Davis (UC Davis), is one of the top public universities in the United States, ranked first in the world for veterinary medicine and first nationally for agriculture. UC Davis is well-known for its research prowess and has diverse research programs including human and animal health. They have many preclinical and clinical research studies that require the collection and storage of large numbers of biospecimens.

Managing Large Biospecimen Projects

The Mouse Biology Shared Resource at UC Davis creates and maintains mouse models of human disease. They also generate and store cells and tissue from various mouse lines to support basic, preclinical, and translational research. Scientists at the Mouse Biology Shared Resource must capture and store data for a large number of mouse lines and biospecimens. For example, the Knockout Mouse Project (KOMP) Repository has 4,175 mouse lines and more than 14,000 cell lines. Moreover, the Mouse Biology Shared Resource collaborates on large projects with other departments at UC Davis and other organizations such as JAX West. They needed a biorepository management system to help manage the biospecimens generated from, and required by, many large projects with many different collaborators.

Integrated, Centralized Biospecimen Management

UC Davis chose OpenSpecimen to streamline their biospecimen management and to track specimen collections from both human and non-human subjects.

“We checked out various databases but OpenSpecimen was by far the best option for our needs,” said Irmgard Feldman, Senior Clinical Research Coordinator, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UC Davis. “We use OpenSpecimen to track sample use and to find specimens for UC Davis researchers. With its extensive configurability and ability to create whatever custom data entry forms are needed, OpenSpecimen is just perfect for us.”

Benefits of Using OpenSpecimen

“OpenSpecimen is incredibly useful to us and I keep thinking about ways to use it not just for specimen/participant tracking but for any other purposes that need tracking such as training records, etc.,” said Irmgard Feldman.

UC Davis uses OpenSpecimen for the following projects:

  • Tracking patient specimens for various departments (Urology, Lung Cancer Research Group, Cancer Center, Head/Neck Department, Osteosarcoma and the Pancreatic Cancer Detection Consortium [PCDC])
  • Tracking mouse models for the JAX-PDX, MouseBioSR and U54 Projects
  • Tracking biorepository personnel training (mandatory annual training as well as OpenSpecimen Training)
  • Tracking research personnel Lists + CITI Training
  • Tracking researcher specimen collection and use
  • Create individual researcher contact lists (pivot tables)
  • Tracking Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

“Creating custom data entry forms for ‘participant’, ‘visit’, and ‘specimen’ is crucial,” said Irmgard Feldman. “The various forms we created within OpenSpecimen are incredibly helpful. When we get specimens back from Mouse Biology Shared Resource for storage and tracking, our biorepository director completes the diagnosis quality control form for these specimens and inputs the diagnosis into the database. If we need to discard a specimen, we complete a ‘To Be Discarded’ Form in OpenSpecimen.”

Written by: Neha Nimgire, Senior Member of Domain Staff, Krishagni

For more details, email [email protected]