Sample Management and Biobanking

The Pharmacogenomics Centre houses the Montreal Heart Institute hospital cohort biobank (>500,000 samples), Randomized Clinical Trial cohorts (>90,000 samples) and consortium Cohorts (>6,000). The Centre’s biobanking facility offers off-site duplication of sample storage for accrued sample security. The Centre is responsible for the management and curation of thousands of DNA, plasma, serum, Buffy Coat, and red blood cell samples each year.

The DNA/RNA isolation laboratory operates under Good Laboratory/Clinical Practices (GL/CP) standards and provides services to clients in the academic, industrial, and pharmaceutical communities. All operations are conducted following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and all experiment workflows are documented in a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

Different DNA/RNA extraction technologies are available at the Pharmacogenomics Centre to support different project scopes, including low and high sample throughput as well as small to large sample volumes.

Sample Processing and Genomic Material Extraction

The Pharmacogenomics Centre has the capability to perform DNA/RNA extraction and process samples from a wide variety of sample types including:

  • Whole Blood (including PaxGene)
  • Saliva
  • Buccal Swab
  • FTA paper
  • Tissues
  • Red Blood Cells
  • Buffy Coat
  • Plasma
  • Serum
  • Urine
  • Tasso

Sample Identification

  • The life cycle of samples are fully tracked in a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) using unique identifiers.
  • Sample labels can be customized to allow better specimen descriptions.
  • The Biobanking facilities support standard tubes (0.5 to 10 mL) tubes with classic 1D barcodes as well as REMP 2D barcoded containers.

DNA/RNA Extraction Technologies


The Pharmacogenomics Centre is equiped with validated and certified storage units.

  • Refrigerated (+2 to +8°C).
  • Standard (non-deicing) freezers (-20°C).
  • Ultra-low freezer (-70 to -80°C).


  • Main laboratories and storage laboratories are equipped with key card access, cameras.
  • Dedicated storage units are equiped with keylocks.
  • All storage units are monitored electronically 24/7 using technologies by Rees Scientific (link: and connected the Montreal’s Heart Institute central security alarm system.
  • Liquid Nitrogen backup systems ensure temperature stability during sample retrieval and storage.
  • Optional off-site sample storage capacity available for additional secrity of biobank specimens.


  • All samples processed must conform to associated human subjects ethical documents.
  • All samples received are recoded with a unique identifyer for downstream processes.


Ian Mongrain, M.Sc.
Directeur des opérations/Director of operations

Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre
Montreal Heart Institute, office S-2050
5000, Belanger East, Montreal
Qc, Canada, H1T1C8

Office: 514-670-7670, 7716
CA/USA: 1-855-670-7670, 7716
Fax: +1-514-670-7671