Living BioBank

Need Specimens for Research? 

The Living BioBank is a self-service tool for researchers to obtain human samples, resulting microbiome assays, and linked clinical data for precisely e-phenotyped cohorts in a de-identified manner. Rather than functioning like traditional biobank repositories, which indiscriminately store large numbers of samples, the Living BioBank allows for just-in-time capture of surplus clinical specimens.  

This process can support a broad range of sample requests while reducing the burdens including regulatory requirements, investment in staff and equipment, expertise and protocols in sample collection, processing, and storage. 

Request Types Available 

Two categories of requests are currently supported by the system – blood specimens and microbiome data. 


Blood – Results in physical (in-hand) samples provided to the researcher. 

•  Whole blood 

•  Plasma 


Microbiome – Results in assay data provided to the researcher. 

•  Nasal swabs 

•  Nasopharyngeal swabs (SARS-CoV-2) 

•  Perianal swabs 

•  Stool 


Simplified Request Process 

Requests submitted through the Living BioBank begin with the user using i2b2 tool to specify the inclusion-exclusion criteria for the cohort of patients of interest. The submission results in a request for a consultation with an honest data broker who reviews the intent of the request, the regulatory requirements, and finalizes the e-phenotype. Once the request is accepted, the necessary study records are created and pushed into SPARCRequest (SPARC) for service tracking and request execution.  

Blood specimen requests are fulfilled on an ongoing basis where samples are made directly available to the requester.  

Microbiome data requests are fulfilled in bulk – once all samples for a given request have been collected, the specimens are processed for DNA extraction, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and upstream preprocessing of raw sequence data. A resultant dataset is provided to the requester. 



Living BioBank Guide 

Basic i2b2 Guide 

i2b2 FAQ 

Research Data Requests 

Questions? Contact us at