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Biomarker, Biochemistry and Biorepository Core

The Biomarker, Biochemistry and Biorepository Core (B3 Core) is the core research laboratory of MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI). For more than 20 years, staff members of the B3 Core (formerly known as the Penn Medical Laboratory) have provided scientific, laboratory, and biorepository services to researchers conducting clinical studies, trials, and epidemiologic investigations sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), other federal agencies, foundations, and pharmaceutical sponsors.

The B3 Core is a College of American Pathologists (CAP)- and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified central laboratory. This analytical facility specializes in clinical chemistry and immunology techniques. The B3 Core occupies 6,000 square feet of customized space within MHRI's Hyattsville, MD, headquarters, as well as about 1,500 square feet of satellite space in the George Hyman Research Building at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center campus in Washington, DC.


B3 Core services include the following

  1. Processing and storing of blood, urine, and DNA samples;
  2. Providing accurate and timely measurements of biomarkers;
  3. Providing field training to ensure quality control and efficiency of study personnel;
  4. Answering specific research and technical questions; and
  5. Designing laboratory protocols and supporting investigator applications.

With its own extensive quality assurance and quality control measures, the B3 Core exceeds certification requirements and achieves the high standards of a reference laboratory. The B3 Core has been active in numerous federally and non-federally funded research protocols and provides comparability, standardization, and opportunities for intellectual collaboration with other studies.

To accommodate researchers, the B3 Core is expansive in the services it provides, fitting the needs of each study. The laboratory has served researchers investigating topics including diabetes, pregnancy, oncology and cardiovascular disease. The majority of the research supported by the B3 Core centers on racial and ethnic minority populations. The B3 Core is led by Jason G. Umans, MD, PhD, and Jianhui Zhu, MD, PhD, internationally published scientists with decades of experience directing research laboratories and managing clinical studies

Capability Highlights

  • Automated and esoteric chemistries and immunoassays, including RIA, ELISA, and multiplexed microfluidic Luminex XMAP assays.
  • Genotyping, immunologic, molecular, and chromatographic methods.
  • New method development and assay evaluation.
  • Rigorous quality control with certification and proficiency testing by College of American Pathologists (CAP), CMS Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and Northwest Lipid Metabolism and Diabetes Research Labs.
  • Scientific and operational support for clinical, pre-clinical, and in vitro studies, including laboratory protocol development, accession form design, kit assembly, field staff training, assay design and validation, laboratory testing, and study implementation. Learn more about the B3 Core's resources and assay methods.
  • Sample acquisition and processing, including serum, plasma, DNA extraction, cell isolations, and lysates.
  • Sample tracking using study-specific bar-coded labels and database.
  • Sample storage in continuously monitored and alarmed -80ºC freezers.
  • Computerized laboratory information management system with flexible electronic, fax, or paper reporting by certified medical technologists. All computer systems are secure, supported, and backed-up daily.
  • Collaborative arrangements with a wide network of university and hospital research laboratories enable the B3 Core to provide comprehensive clinical and research laboratory resources to all clients and sponsors.


For more information, email [email protected].

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