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Six Questions with Emily Hubbard

July 2, 2019

Emily is director of site management and development at iSpecimen, where she develops relationships with organizations that want to share human biospecimens with researchers on the iSpecimen Marketplace.

1. Where do the human biofluids, tissues and hematopoietic stem and immune cells available on the iSpecimen Marketplace come from?

The specimens and data available on the iSpecimen Marketplace come from all over the world. We partner with large academic institutions, commercial biobanks, community hospitals, pathology groups, specialty clinics, clinical trials organizations, blood donation centers, research co-operatives, etc. We vet each supplier to ensure they meet our supplier criteria, but the site type varies widely. All of them want to support research and earn revenue to support their missions.

2. What are the biggest challenges faced by the potential specimen suppliers you meet?

There are four: 1) searching within their own inventory and data; 2) understanding what the research market currently wants; 3) making specimens available to a larger research customer base; and 4) sustaining their operations from a financial standpoint. We’re committed to helping suppliers meet all of these challenges with minimum work on their part.

3. How hard is it for a specimen supplier to integrate with the Marketplace so that they can offer specimens and patient data to researchers?

The biggest effort for some is retrieving the inventory data from whatever system they are using at the organization. But the effort is worthwhile and one of the issues we are addressing through the Marketplace. We have a complete onboarding process for new suppliers to guide them through the entire process. I’m happy to walk any potential specimen supplier through our approach.

4. Specimen suppliers also worry about compliance with IRB protocols and other regulations that guide the collection and use of biospecimens. How does iSpecimen help these institutions?

We request the regulatory documents (initial and annual renewal) from each supplier. Our integration team mines those documents to understand allowable uses, material and data transfer elements, etc. We ensure that specimens are collected in accordance with the US Health and Human Services as well as HIPAA guidelines. We also ensure that specimens are shipped only for allowable research uses.

5. Do you have a biology background?

Yes, my degree is in biology (fun fact: minor in art). I spent the first 14 years of my career in genetics and molecular biology. I got into biospecimen collection about 7 years ago. Once I got to interact with patients and the various medical and research staff involved in this area, I was hooked.

6. If someone from a healthcare organization wants to ask questions about the possibility of specimen sharing, how can they reach you?

Contact me at I’m happy to answer questions at all.

Learn about the iSpecimen Marketplace where you can browse millions of richly annotated, de-identified human tissue and biofluid biospecimens, in addition to hematopoietic and immune cell products. You can join for free and creating a login is easy. Request a quote or custom collection today.

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