The Biospecimen Research Group empowers cancer research through scientific oversight and effective management of a diverse portfolio of National Cancer Institute–sponsored programs and projects focused on: procuring and processing high-quality, well-annotated cancer biospecimens; developing next-generation cancer models as community resources; providing access to cutting-edge genomics, proteomics, and molecular characterization resources; and managing and disseminating molecular characterization data via platforms such as the Genomic Data Commons. 

We support various components of each project’s life cycle. Our goal is to create diverse resources for the scientific community.

Empowering progress in cancer research through biospecimen and data resources

Multifaceted cancer research endeavors are complex projects that can change the lives of cancer patients. Our project portfolio includes providing biospecimen and data resource support for several high-profile, NCI-driven efforts, including the Cancer MoonshotSM Initiative, which aim to promote robust scientific inquiry, inform current and future clinical trials, and contribute to NCI’s data repositories. 

Our group supports diverse divisions and centers within NCI, including the Center for Cancer Genomics, Division of Cancer Biology, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and Division of Cancer Prevention. 



Contact Program Coordinator Carmen Ambush at with questions.

Collaboration Opportunities

Want to work with us? We are open to collaborations! Reach out at for more information if you are interested in our team's project management services.

Synergizing expertise to accelerate progress at the forefront of cancer research 

Our project support is rooted in a steadfast dedication to improving human health using an agile, collaborative research approach. We capitalize on the expertise of our diverse staff, which includes highly skilled scientists, project and program managers, clinical data specialists, software engineers and informatics team, along with internal and external collaborating laboratories, to empower cancer research using a team science environment that sharpens focus, streamlines problem-solving, and propels the field of precision medicine.

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Completing complex, multifaceted cancer research projects 

We offer synergistic project and program management services, along with cutting-edge scientific knowledge to guide complex, multifaceted NCI-sponsored projects to completion. These projects involve operational and scientific support of activities such as procurement and processing of high-quality biospecimen, molecular characterization, generation of next-generation cancer models, and management of public data commons.

Our approach is to ensure project requirements are well defined and aligned to overarching goals. We leverage a network of internal and external experts, including government program leads, project-related working groups and consortium members, and internal experts within the Frederick National Laboratory. We identify laboratories with subject matter expertise to complete the work per each project's scope, requirements, and scientific goals.


Our capabilities and specializations

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High-quality biospecimen procurement 

We provide the oversight and management required to gather, handle, store, and disseminate biological samples and related data for cancer research.   

Our team collaborates with numerous academic institutions and commercial organizations within the United States and overseas and works toward fulfilling even the most challenging biospecimen acquisition.

We manage the entire workflow, from specimen collection to delivery of samples and associated clinical data, according to each project’s specific needs.

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  • Protocol development 

  • Regulatory compliance (Institutional Review Board, Material Transfer Agreement, Data Use Agreement, Informed Consent, etc.)

  • Standard operating procedure development and enforcement 

  • Informatics: case report form development, data management, analytics, and reporting 

  • Quality assurance, quality control, and incidence management 

  • Challenging procurement (rare diseases, international sites, clinical trial, multi-assay use, etc.) 

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Coordination and oversight of cutting-edge genomics, proteomics, and a wide range of molecular characterizations 

We provide coordination and oversight needed for executing high-quality molecular characterization tailored for each project’s scientific goals. 

Our portfolio covers various assays and diverse pipelines. By leveraging our extensive network in the research community, we identify and engage expert laboratories capable of performing state-of-the-art molecular characterization and analysis of the resulting data per project-specific needs.

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  • Project management and technical oversight 

  • End-to-end sample tracking

  • Subcontracting solicitation and management 

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Supporting development of cutting-edge research tools, such as next-generation cancer models

Our group supports various NCI-sponsored efforts that aim to develop and share cutting-edge tools for advancing cancer research, such as next-generation cancer models and genetic perturbation reagents.

We identify and engage with expert laboratories capable of executing the requirements, overseeing the project through transfer of the generated tools, along with the appropriate protocols for their use, to distributors for sharing with the research community worldwide.

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  • Well-annotated, next-generation cancer models 

  • Public-facing, searchable catalog of developed tools 

  • Distribution of developed tools via third party distributors 

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Data commons 

We manage the operation of NCI data commons, including the Genomic Data Commons, that facilitate the submission, alignment, analysis, and dissemination of genomic and clinical information from major cancer research programs, such as The Cancer Genome Atlas Program.  

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  • Data harmonization workflows 

  • Pipeline automation 

  • Oversight and management of data access, submission, and analysis

  • Big data management