Joanne Becker, MD, working in the lab

Laboratory Medicine


Joanne Becker, MD
Vice Chair, Division of Laboratory Medicine
Medical Director, Blood Bank and Therapeutic Apheresis Unit

The Division of Laboratory Medicine is responsible for performing all clinical laboratory testing at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY, and the Roswell Park Amherst Center in Williamsville, NY, which resulted in 1.27 million billable tests in fiscal year 2021. We are responsible for maintenance of laboratory certification, development and deployment of new assays, and the understanding and improvement of laboratory informatics, including test interfacing into the electronic medical record.

Our physicians oversee diagnostic operations and consultations with clinicians, providing accurate and reproducible test results within the laboratory and for point of care testing. Laboratory Medicine is functionally divided into the following sections

Core Laboratory

Encompassing Phlebotomy, Point of Care Testing, Chemistry, Special Chemistry/Immunology and Hematology, including coagulation and urinalysis, the Core Laboratory performs the largest volume of testing. For outpatients, the laboratory provides rapid turnaround time for most tests allowing patients to have their blood drawn as part of their clinic visit with results available for that day’s appointment.

Transfusion Medicine

Encompassing our Blood Bank, Donor Center, Therapeutic Apheresis and Stem Cell Laboratory, Transfusion Medicine ensures safe collection, manufacture, storage and distribution of blood and cellular therapy products, providing 20,000 products for patient use each year.

The Donor Center had 3900 visits in 2021 for volunteer donations, generating red cells, plasma and platelets for our patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our facility quickly implemented new procedures to collect and distribute convalescent plasma for the region. In addition to therapeutic procedures, our busy Therapeutic Apheresis service collects stem cells for transplant and mononuclear cells for the manufacturing of cellular therapies. Most products collected in therapeutic apheresis will go through the stem cell lab for cryopreservation or shipping to the manufacturing facility. Therapeutic Apheresis had 1438 patient visits in 2021.

Infectious Disease

With a large percentage of our patients having immunosuppression, the testing for infectious diseases is critically important to ongoing patient care. This unit encompasses the Microbiology, Mycology and Clinical Molecular laboratories. The microbiology laboratory utilizes MALDI-TOF (a form of mass spectrometry) for the identification of most bacteria. This has reduced the time to provide results by days. Viral detection utilizes amplification methods for both DNA and RNA.

Clinical Research Support

Clinical Research Support facility allows samples dedicated to research to be able to be delivered to central receiving.  The samples are forwarded to the Clinical Research Support facility where they are able to be managed as per the protocol. 

Clinical Mass Spectrometry

Laboratory Medicine is embarking on a joint venture with the Bioanalytic, Metabolomics, and Pharmacokinetics Shared Resource merging their expertise in Mass Spectrometry and pharmacokinetics with ours in regulatory compliance and clinical testing. The first assay will be Busulfan pharmacokinetic testing to allow individual dosing of this medication for the TCT service.

Our credentials

Our laboratories obtain CLIA certification from the New York State Department of Health and are also assessed by the Joint Commission, AABB, and FACT. Our Donor Center and Blood Bank are registered with the FDA and Therapeutic Apheresis and the stem cell laboratory are routinely audited by NMDP and other agencies, organizations or companies for whom they provide materials for further manufacturing.