CDC Biorepository

CDC Biorepository
Vision & Mission


Achieve excellence in biorepository science to advance population health, patient care, and health.


Provide centralized biorepository services to facilitate CDC program activities that are fundamental to public health, surveillance, research, and outbreak response.

CAP Accreditation

CAP Number: 834604
Expiration Date: 10/16/2021

About CDC Biorepository

The Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS) operates the CDC Biorepository (CBR), which was established in 1997 as a centralized resource to preserve CDC’s valuable samples and provide ongoing support to CDC programs. With approximately 6.6 million biological and environmental samples, CBR strives to maintain best practices and standards, and offer sample management expertise to programs. For more information, contact us at

The CDC Biorepository offers a variety of centralized services to facilitate CDC program activities related to public health research. CBR is the largest federal biorepository in the United States to be certified by the College of American Pathologistsexternal icon (CAP). Accreditation by CAP provides validation that CBR meets or exceeds standards based on established biorepository best practices.

Sample Stewardship

CBR provides sample storage and preservation with 24/7 monitoring to ensure sample integrity.  CBR can accommodate diverse sample types (e.g., cryovials, DBS cards, soil samples, etc.) and optimal temperature ranges, including vapor-phase liquid nitrogen storage units (below -140°C), low and ultralow freezers (-20°C to -80°C), refrigerators (1°C to 4°C), and ambient storage.

CDC Identifiers

CBR serves as the administrator issuing CDC’s required, standardized identifiers: CDC Sample Identifier (CSID) and CDC Unique Identifier (CUID). This standardization ensures each CDC sample, along with its aliquots and derivatives, are uniquely and consistently identified. This facilitates traceability and tracking across the agency while maintaining parent-child relationships.

Collection Management

CBR manages collections and associated information obtained from CDC’s public health surveillance, research, and outbreak responses. The data from sample collections are managed using a sample inventory management system. CBR has enhanced its data and documentation requirements to maximize the usability of samples. Over time, these activities will ensure collection integrity and sustainability.

Sample Labels

A variety of label and formatting options are available. With CDC’s sample-related policies, many considerations should be made when formatting labels, including any character limitations that may apply. CBR’s role is to ensure that CDC program labels are consistent with these requirements.

Sample Disposition

Samples are handled at CBR by a well-trained, proficient staff that works to ensure cold-chain integrity during all aspects of sample handling. With a quick turnaround time, CBR can meet program needs, including sample retrieval, transport to designated  location, and sample destruction.

Cryogenic Services

CBR provides liquid nitrogen for all Atlanta-area CDC campuses and continuous cryogenic monitoring for compatible units through its own in-house 24/7 monitoring system.  CBR works with programs to maintain liquid nitrogen sample storage units by providing consultations and doing repairs when needed.

CDC Biorepository’s Impact

Samples housed at the CBR have the potential to play a crucial role in public health research and population health by facilitating scientific knowledge advancement, characterization of new etiologic agents, investigation of disease causes, and development of new tests, vaccines, and treatments. Collections at the CBR also support and enhance national studies, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, and the Active Bacterial Core (ABC) surveillance program. CBR provides support to CDC during emergency response and operations including offsite storage during natural disasters and sample management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Page last reviewed: June 16, 2020