Providing Contemporary Access to Historical Biospecimen Collections: Development of the NHLBI Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC)

Biopreserv Biobank. 2015 Aug;13(4):271-9. doi: 10.1089/bio.2014.0050. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), within the United States' National Institutes of Health (NIH), established a Biorepository in 1976 that initially archived biospecimens from population-based blood product safety surveys. It was later expanded to biospecimens from clinical and epidemiological studies in heart, lung, and blood disorders. The NHLBI also established a Data Repository in 2000 to store and distribute study data from NHLBI-sponsored research. The NHLBI Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC) was established in 2008 to develop the infrastructure needed to link the contents of these two related NHLBI Repositories, facilitate access to repository resources, and streamline request processes. Three key program subcomponents were developed simultaneously: 1) the linkage of biospecimen electronic inventory records with their clinical or characterization data; 2) the development and implementation of a website with both public-facing information and private processing workspaces; and 3) the development of processes to maximize efficiency via a web-based system while maintaining workflow control, document tracking, and secure processes. The BioLINCC website was launched on October 1, 2009 with eight biospecimen collections and data from 72 research studies. By the end of the fourth online year, 38 biospecimen collections were linked and posted, and data from 108 research studies had been made available for request. The number of registered users by the end of the fourth online year approached 2600, and continues to show a trend towards an increasing rate of new users per year. BioLINCC has fulfilled 381 requests comprising 851 data collections, as well as 600 teaching dataset requests and 75 data renewal agreements. 154 biospecimen requests comprising 147,388 biospecimens were fulfilled or actively in process. We conclude that the BioLINCC program has been successful in its goal to increase the visibility and utilization of NHLBI biospecimen and data repository resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products
  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.)
  • Program Development
  • Software
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • United States


  • Biological Products