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Sample collection and transport

We anticipate multiple sample collection sites following a radiological event, such as doctor’s offices, church halls, Community Reception Centers, hospitals, etc. We have teamed with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygene’s Bureau of Environmental Emergency Preparedness & Response to develop RABiT collection kits that can be integrated into their emergency response workflow.

Garty G, Karam PA and Brenner DJ Infrastructure to support high-throughput biodosimetry screening after a radiological event. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 87:754-765 (2011). [PMC] [Journal]

The field collection kits are developed to support the work of one or several sample collectors. They consist of

• Lancets

• bar-coded blood collection tubes

• matched personal data cards

• matched barcoded wristbands

• Alcohol wipes

• Sample holders for 32 or 96 tubes.




Sample Collection

Our initial design of the RABiT sample collection centered on heparinized PVC capillaries. A 100 μl capillary is loaded with 20-30 μl of blood. The capillary is then inserted into a custom holder preloaded with separation medium and sealing putty. A small air bubble is formed between the blood and separation medium allowing shipping of the capillary to the RABiT workstation while maintaining the proper layering to allow for lymphocyte isolation

A second sample collection method is being investigated for assays not requiring lymphocyte isolation. This is based on the, now prevalent, Matrix tubes. Here, blood is loaded into the tube using a Minivette. The tubes are then placed in a 96-position rack and can be immediately processed on a commercial liquid handling system.

Sample Transport

A major consideration when designing sample collection is transport of the sample to the analysis site. Even under normal conditions 24h may pass between sample collection and analysis. It is crucial that the samples be maintained in conditions which preserve the biodosimetric signal during this transport. For each RABiT assay under development we also perform a thorough analysis of the optimal shipping conditions and specify an appropriate shipping container.

For example, for assay that require an extended culture step, we are developing customized shipping containers that is able to hold samples at 37oC and allow the cell culturing to be performed in transit, thus significantly shortening the time to answer.





Columbia University




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Center for High-Throughput Minimally-Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry