Thank You to Coriell’s Many Lab Professionals!


The last week of April is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and like so many scientific organizations, we at Coriell would be nowhere without the dozens of lab professionals who make this work possible.

At Coriell, we have professional technicians across a number of labs—many with decades of experience—that process and test the samples and biomaterials in our care to ensure they meet the high standards we set. Their knowledge, their work, and their commitment to quality and continuous improvement are unmatched. They are largely responsible for Coriell’s reputation as the global standard bearer for biomaterials.

We at Coriell have a deep appreciation for the many lab teams, and the many lab techs, every day of the year, but want to highlight them during this important week.

You can read about these teams, with notes of appreciation from Coriell leadership, below.

Molecular Biology Laboratory

This lab, one of the busiest at Coriell, handles all things DNA and RNA. They extract DNA and RNA from biosamples and confirm sample identity as part of our quality control procedures.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the Molecular Biology Laboratory at Coriell. The expert knowledge and dedication of the lab’s Manager Gretchen Smith, Team Lead Kevin Friedley, and the rest of the Molecular Biology team ensure that the thousands of DNA and RNA products processed at Coriell each year meet the highest standards for authentication, consistency, reproducibility, integrity, and quality. Researchers often remark on how terrific the biospecimens they receive from Coriell are which is a tribute to this group. We are so privileged to work with this team every day!”

— Laura Scheinfeldt, PhD, Director of Repository Science

Cell Culture Laboratory

When someone donates a skin or blood sample to a collection in Coriell’s care, it heads first to our Cell Culture Lab. There, Cell Culture technicians process those donations, immortalize and grow the cells needed, and ensure these cell lines can be safely stored in and restored from our cryogenic storage facility.

“Our Cell Culture Laboratory is one of the best in the business. Associate Director of Laboratory Production Kelly Hodges and Team Lead Katie Mancini have cultured in their team a real commitment to processing each sample with an eye toward quality and excellence and it is clear to all that their team has a great time working together. This team is a pleasure to work with and I'd like to extend a deep thank you for their hard work and commitment to maintaining uninterrupted operations through the pandemic.”

— Nahid Turan, PhD, Chief Biobanking Officer

Research Laboratory

Lab techs at Coriell do more than work on biosamples. We have a talented team of researchers investigating the genetics and epigenetics behind cancer, aging, opioid use disorder, and more, and they are supported at the lab bench by teams of talented techs.

“As I and others on the Research team at Coriell often have our noses in data and scientific literature, the talented laboratory managers and technicians are always busy assisting in our lab. Their expertise in lab procedures, their skill on the bench, and their passion for generating knowledge and data for analysis is deeply appreciated by me and the rest of the researchers at Coriell. Our work would be impossible without them.”

— Jaroslav Jelinek, MD, PhD - Chief Scientific Officer

Stem Cell Laboratory

Coriell has long been a leader in induced pluripotent stem cell science. This team reprograms skin or blood cells into stem cells which are offered as cell lines for research, and can differentiate those cells into nearly any cell type in the body.

“I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to the Stem Cell Laboratory for its dedication, commitment, and exceptional effort to make Coriell a success and a great institution. Manager Christine Grandizio and Team Lead Digisha Patel, and the rest of the team, your commitment to Coriell excellence is proof of your hard work and it has been clearly shown in recent years, which have been exceptionally difficult due to COVID. We are very lucky to have you and we truly couldn’t have navigated through these challenging times without you. I look forward to seeing your future achievements.”

— Diego Morales, MBA, PhD, Associate Director, Laboratory Services

Cytogenomics Laboratory

The Cytogenomics Lab is an essential quality control check for biomaterials coming into and leaving Coriell. Cyto checks samples in Coriell’s care to ensure there are no unnoticed chromosomal abnormalities, or that stated abnormalities are matched in the samples themselves.

“The Cytogenomics Lab, led by Swasti Kafle, has done a tremendous job to evaluate karyotype cases for many of Coriell's contracts and cooperative agreements and they have maintained the highest quality of work in an increasingly complex production environment. The lab’s excellent work ensures that the scientific output of Coriell's karyotype analyses is of the highest standard. Swasti is an absolute pleasure to work with and Coriell is lucky to have such a dedicated and wonderful lab.”

— Matt Mitchell, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator of the NIGMS Human Genetic Cell Repository and Co-Principal Investigator of the NHGRI Sample Repository

Biobanking Logistics

While this team may not work at a lab bench, these biobanking professionals are as responsible for Coriell’s trusted biomaterials as any other group in white lab coats. Their knowledge of cryopreservation and the logistics of distributing cherished biosamples to the world is unmatched.

“On behalf of Coriell, I would like to thank our Biobanking Logistics Team for their constant dedication to biobanking at Coriell! All of the team members take great care with the maintenance of our cryogenic facility, keeping an on-call schedule and coming in at any hour of the day and night to ensure the safety of all of the stored biospecimens. Associate Director Donna Altamuro and Team Lead Cyndi Peterson and the others always go the extra mile to ensure all customer orders are retrieved on time, that sample inventory is accurate, and all internal and external needs are met. The logistics of distributing hundreds of samples a week and working closely with various courier services, thanks to our shipping expert, Tom Schneider, is critical to the success of Coriell.”

— Kathryn Driesbaugh, PhD, Director of Repository Operations

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