Use and Transfer of Human Biospecimens in Research

In a written announcement dated March 13, 2007, Dr. Arthur Levine, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, Dean, School of Medicine, notified faculty of the Health Sciences of a policy on the use of biological materials, as well as a requirement to register all sample collections. 

Tissue Policy

Biorepository Registration:

  • The Pitt Biorepository Database (PBD) is an online catalogue of biorepositories at the Univ. of Pittsburgh.

  • Register your biorepository with the HBMC ( the repository must be registered for a material transfer request to be approved). 
    Please visit Pitt Biorepository Database for more information.  This is not the Pitt Biospecimen Core.

    • Your Biorepository ID# will be emailed to you within 48 hours after the completion of the registration.

    • If you have already registered your biorepository and do not have the id number, you may obtain it at If you need assistance or a more rapid response, then contact Paul Wood

    • The Biorepository ID number serves as confirmation of registration of the repository for CORID applications, Material Transfer Agreements and Office of Research Clinical/Research agreements.


Human biological materials represent a precious resource in the furtherance of biomedical research and, as such, always should be used in an ethical manner, with due care and diligence and in ways that will provide the most benefit to investigative endeavors and the generation of new information. Individuals who have so generously provided these materials are shown the highest level of respect when materials are utilized in a manner that maximizes the collective efforts of our investigators and new data generated. One of the ways to accomplish this is through sharing of available material within the Health Sciences community.

The types of human biological material include:

*Subcellular components such as DNA and RNA
*Cells or tissues from any part of the human body
*Organs (liver, kidneys, heart, etc.)
*Blood and blood products such as plasma, serum, red blood cells)
*Bodily products, such as hair, teeth, urine, and saliva

Immortalized cell lines are excluded.

Organisms such as bacteria and viruses isolated from human specimens are not human biological materials.