UHN Biospecimen Services

University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Provides centralized biobanking and digital pathology services to facilitate cutting-edge research and support biomarker development.

Areas of expertise

UHN Biospecimen Services is located at the core of Toronto’s Discovery District in the largest hospital network in Canada and is one of the leading research institutes in North America. The staff consists of experts in biospecimen management and processing, clinical research, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, biobanking technology, and pathology.

The established program leverages over 20 years of combined biobanking expertise from the McCain GU BioBank and the Princess Margaret Cancer Biobank. The consolidated program provides biobanking services to academic and industry collaborators, including participant recruitment, tissue, and biofluid sample processing, DNA and RNA extraction, short-term and long-term storage, laser capture microdissection, digital slide scanning, tissue microarray construction, and biobanking consulting. UHN Biospecimen services houses an inventory of over 1.5 million banked biospecimens with detailed annotated data. Requestors can contact team members to discuss new projects and develop study procedures to specifications. 

Research services
  • Participant recruitment
  • Biospecimen collection (tissue and biofluid)
  • Biospecimen processing (tissue and biofluid)
  • DNA and RNA extraction
  • Pathology review
  • Storage (long-term and short-term)
  • Biospecimen shipping
  • Laser capture microdissection
  • Digital slide scanning
  • Tissue microarray construction
  • Database creation
  • Biobank consultation
Sectors of application
  • Healthcare and social services

Specialized lab



Digital Pathology

Leica LMD6 Laser Capture Microdissection Microscope

Harvests specific cells from a diverse cell population using a precise laser and gravitational force that enabled in-depth analysis of cells.

Digital Pathology

Aperio AT2 Slide Scanner

Automated brightfield scanner that precisely digitizes whole slides at optimal quality.

Digital Pathology

Tissue MicroArrayer

Paraffin embedded block that consists of multiple cylindrical cores of tissue and can be used for molecular analysis.

Digital Pathology

Automated Liquid Handler

Provides pipetting technology for high accuracy, precision, and reparability from sub-microliter to large volumes.

Biobanking Storage

Liquid Nitrogen Tanks

Liquid Nitrogen tanks with -1800C temperature capacity equipped with alarm sensors.

Biobanking Storage

Mechanical Freezers

Mechanical freezers with -800C temperature capacity equipped with alarm sensors.

  • University of Toronto



UHN Biospecimen Services


The Responses of Biobanks to COVID-19



Act Local, Think Global! The First ISBER-UHN Virtual Symposium.