Skip to Content
Last Updated: 12/09/14

Which Current Projects May Be Using My Specimens?

Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx): The Genotype-Tissue Expression project, or GTEx, is an important medical research study. GTEx is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world’s foremost medical research agencies. The goal of GTEx is to increase our understanding of human diseases that affect many people and to improve health care for future generations.

The caHUB’s role in the GTEx project is to collect the samples or specimens that GTEx researchers will be studying to better understand several diseases including, but not limited to, cancer, infectious diseases, diabetes and heart disease.

GTEx researchers are studying the effects of changes in genes. Genes are the packets of information in the cells of our bodies that parents pass along to their children. Genes determine traits such as eye color, height, and blood type. Each cell in the human body contains a complete set of genes, yet not every gene is turned on in every cell in the body. To function properly, each type of cell turns different genes on and off, depending on what the cell does. For example, some genes that are turned on in a liver cell will be turned off in a heart cell. Previous research has shown that certain changes in genes can increase a person’s risk of developing common diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. How changes in genes affect the risk of having these diseases, however, is poorly understood. GTEx will study how gene are turned on or off in different organs in the human body. This will be a key step to explain how diseases develop. Specimens for GTEx are being collected by the National Disease Research Interchange (Philadelphia, PA) via the Gift of Life Donor Program, Washington Regional Transplant Community, Center for Organ Recovery and Education, LifeGift, and LifeNet Health; Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, NY) via the Upstate New York Transplant Services. More information can be found here or from this brochure.

Biospecimen Research Network (BRN): The Biospecimen Research Network (BRN) conducts research on human samples. The BRN collects, stores, and studies samples and related information. BRN scientists use the samples and related information to develop better methods for collecting samples. Information from BRN studies will be shared to ensure that samples are appropriately collected for planned research. The University of New Mexico and Vanderbilt University are collecting samples for the BRN project.

Biospecimen Preanalytical Variables (BPV): The Biospecimen Preanalytical Variables (BPV) research on human samples. BPV collects, stores, and studies samples and related information. BPV scientists use the samples and related information to develop better methods for collecting samples. Information from BPV studies will be shared to ensure that samples are appropriately collected for planned research. The University of New Mexico, Boston Medical Medical Center, Pittsburgh University, and Emory University are collecting samples for the BPV project.