For Researchers

For Researchers

The MCW Tissue Bank offers the following services:

  • Plasma from whole blood
  • Buffy coat from whole blood
  • Fresh tissue procurement
  • Snap frozen tissue
  • OCT embedded tissue
  • Unstained slides
  • H&E stained slides (from frozen tissue)
  • Slide scanning
  • Frozen tissue QC
  • DNA from blood or tissue
  • RNA from blood or tissue
  • Satellite banking of specimens
  • Storage of specimens

If there is interest in services not listed above, the MCW Tissue Bank staff will work with investigators to determine feasibility of additional services whenever possible.


  • -80° freezers
  • Slide and block cabinets
  • Grossing bench
  • Autostainer
  • Biological cabinet
  • Centrifuges
  • Automated DNA/RNA isolation unit
  • Nanozoomer slide scanner

Specimen Banking

Once a clinical specimen arrives in Pathology, nothing is allowed to leave the premises until it has been clinically evaluated. It is the responsibility of the MCW Tissue Bank Pathologists’ Assistant, Dynacare Pathologists’ Assistants, Pathology residents, and/or Pathologists to make all clinical evaluations and determine what can be released for research purposes. Some specimens with small quantities may not be banked.

The MCW Tissue Bank will never compromise integrity of specimens and their subsequent clinical diagnoses for research purposes because patient health is the number one priority of the Pathology department.

MCW Tissue Bank Hours of Operation

Outside of the MCW Tissue Bank’s working hours, on holidays and weekends, tissue will not be banked or distributed for research purposes. Tissue bank staff and pathology residents are not to be paged to procure tissue during these times. The only time there may be an exception to this policy is if a specimen is received in pathology for the purpose of an intraoperative consultation. At that time, the pathologist performing the intraoperative consultation may provide tissue for research purposes as long as it does not compromise the integrity of the specimen and the subsequent clinical diagnosis, or require access to the banking facility.

MCW Tissue Bank is open only Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. MCW Tissue Bank is closed on all scheduled MCW holidays, on weekends and after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Specimen Requests

All requests for specimens of the central MCW Tissue Bank must go through the appropriate processes:

  1. Provide the MCW Tissue Bank with completed request form
  2. Obtain approval from the Utilization Committee
  3. Obtain approval from the Executive Committee
  4. Obtain approval from the IRB
  5. Provide the MCW Tissue Bank with the final request form approved by the IRB and the approved IRB smartform

*Approval from the IRB is required for human subject research with HIPAA identifiers. This must be requested through ebridge.
^Research that does not include identifiers may qualify for Not Human Subjects Research. Use the Application for Activity that is Not Human Subjects Research link on the Human Research Protection Program page.
~Other requests that utilize MCW Tissue Bank services, but not necessarily our specimens, such as satellite banking, storage of specimens, DNA/RNA isolation may only require a completed request form through our Redcap application.

What types of specimens are available?

Last updated – March 2015


Types of Tissue Banked