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Green Biobanking Survey/Chance to Win a Freezer

TO: All Principal Investigators

FROM: greenbiobanking [dot] med [at] mcgill [dot] ca

SUBJECT: Green Biobanking at McGill: long term storage of biological samples SURVEY and CHANCE TO WIN an energy efficient ultra low temperature freezer* plus racks; a prize to one lucky person who completes the survey.

Complete the survey by February 1st, 2012 (The link is: https://medoas.medicine.mcgill.ca/pls/htmldb/f?p=131:1)  and the name of the lead PI from the lab will go into a draw for the freezer.

Survey results will be compiled and discussed at a half day symposium/workshop to determine use and how best to promote ambient temperature storage where appropriate.

Based on the results from the survey, up to two laboratories will be selected as pilot sites for ambient temperature storage of archival DNA currently stored at -20 or -80°C. Details will be provided to the proposed site investigators. All materials will be provided as well as technical support for this.


The Research office of the Faculty of Medicine has been funded by the McGill Sustainability Projects

Fund (SPF) to investigate Green Biobanking at McGill.

What is the Sustainability Projects Fund?:

The Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) has been created from fees levied to all students (as part of registration) which are matched by the University to help promote and build a culture of sustainability at McGill, with the primary purpose of the fund to create opportunities for the McGill community to actively engage in sustainability initiatives on campus (see: http://www.mcgill.ca/sustainability/get-involved/sustainability-projects-fund)

One sentence project impact statement:

An exciting way to engage and to incentivize and sensitize investigators to an innovative and more sustainable way of doing research.

Project impact statement, paragraph version:

“In a research intensive university where there is innovative research using a large number of DNA and/or RNA specimens, long term storage of such material can be extremely costly and damaging to the environment, especially if the storage requires the use of freezers. It is therefore of great interest to investigate the alternative to freezing which involves a new technology for room temperature storage. This proposal for a pilot program is multifaceted initially to gather information about the needs of investigators, discuss the pros and cons for different biobanking and lab information management systems options, run one or more test cases and then a dissemination and education phase that is campus wide. Using this approach it is anticipated that we will be able to educate the current biobanking trainees as well as the next generation of purchasing decision makers on the value of “green” and sustainable approaches in the lab.”

Project Proposal:


The survey will give us important information about cold storage units (freezers, refrigerators and cryogenic storage units) being utilized, as well as, how many investigators have RNA/DNA stored at -20 or -80°C. We are particularly interested in learning who use Laboratory Information Management systems (LIMS) and which one is preferred.

Please take the time to complete this important short survey and get engaged in this exciting sustainability initiative.

We thank all of you and your laboratory staff who complete this survey. You are helping in making McGill more environmentally friendly and sustainable!

For more information please contact: greenbiobanking [dot] med [at] mcgill [dot] ca

*SANYO MODEL: MDF-U74V -86°C, 26 cu.ft., Space-Saving V.I.P.TM Insulated, Upright Ultra Low Temperature Freezer