CDC Biorepository

CDC Biorepository
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 nearly 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.

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.


CBR can meet many short- and long-term storage needs through its ability to accommodate  diverse sample types (e.g. cryovials, DBS cards, soil samples, etc.) and optimal temperature ranges, including vapor-phase liquid nitrogen storage units (-100°C to -190°C), low and ultralow freezers (-20°C to -80°C), refrigerators (1°C to 4°C), and ambient storage.

CDC Identifiers

The CDC Biorepository 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.

Sample and Collection Management

The CDC Biorepository manages collections obtained from CDC’s public health surveillance, research, and outbreak responses. The data associated with sample collections is managed using a sample inventory management system. The CDC Biorepository 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 that allow for several sample identifiers, including two barcoded identifiers. In relation to 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 help ensure CDC program labels are consistent with these requirements.

Sample Disposition

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

Cryogenic Services

The CDC Biorepository provides liquid nitrogen for all Atlanta-area CDC campuses. CBR additionally offers continuous cryogenic monitoring of these units through its in-house built sample storage monitoring system, DLS SampleGuard.

CDC Biorepository’s Impact

Samples housed at the CDC Biorepository 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 CDC Biorepository 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.

Page last reviewed: March 22, 2019