The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) Specimen Storage Facility at IU School of Medicine recently won a Top Academic Laboratory Award for the 2022 Freezer Challenge in the “Biorepository Facility” category. The Specimen Storage Facility is a subdepartment of the Biospecimen Management Core that maintains four mechanical freezer storage sites and an LN2 (liquid nitrogen) freezer storage site. The competition was put on by My Green Lab, a nonprofit organization working to improve the sustainability of scientific research.
“We are grateful for this recognition of our efforts, and we hope to share our system with other labs that utilize cold storage to help them with their environmentally conscious agendas, sustainability projects, and goals,” said Robert Orr, operation manager for the Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility. “The ultimate goal is to have IU, as a whole, be recognized as a frontrunner in sustainability practices amongst academic institutions across the nation.”
The Specimen Storage Facility monitors and maintains investigator freezers at all times to eliminate losses due to freezer failures. Based on their calculations, the processes and procedures that the Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility has already been operating under help save 455 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day. That is almost equal to how much 15 American homes use each day.
This is the first year that the Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility has reported its records to My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. Orr said the program has always placed a high emphasis on the management of practices and sustainability. For over a decade now, the Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility has established and improved its efforts and impact on investigators who utilize its services.
My Green Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories conduct a yearly Freezer Challenge to encourage best practices for managing freezers and sample collections. View a list of other challenge winners here.
“The Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility has strived to keep sustainability in mind whenever seeking improvements to our processes and procedures,” said Orr, who is also the Operation Manager for the Clinical and Translational Support Laboratory. “Maximum efficiency and waste reduction, increase our ability to provide the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution for research sample storage.”
The Indiana CTSI Specimen Storage Facility is managed by Jenna York. Current staff members include Michael White, Adrianna Strode, and D’Arcy Brewer (with assistance from quality assurance consultant Anne Kaiser).