What we do

The Pathology Network Shared Resource (PNSR) at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center provides human specimens and laboratory services for basic and translational research to further the understanding of the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of human cancers. The overall mission of the PNSR is to facilitate access to human tissue for investigators with IRB approved protocols that have an emphasis on translational efforts.

Functionally, the PNSR is divided into:

  • Biospecimens, tissue procurement and banking
    • DNA
    • RNA
    • FFPE tissue
    • Fresh tissue
    • Frozen tissue
    • TMA library
  • Histology Facility
    • General histology
    • Laser microdissection
    • TMA construction and staining
  • Image scanning and analysis
  • Clinical Research Laboratory Services (CRLS)

The PNSR consists of multiple functional units, with overall leadership by Dr. Carl Morrison, Director and Dr. Wiam Bshara, Assistant Director.

Pathology Network equipment

  • Aperio® AT2 Slide scanning system
  • ImageScope Software
  • Leica Bond Autostainer
  • Leica Autostainer XL
  • Leica HistoCore Arcadia H embedding station
  • Leica LMD6000 Laser Microdissection Microscope
  • Sakura Tissue-Tek VIP Tissue Processor
  • Freezers (-20 and -80)
  • Leica and Sakura Cryostats
  • Olympus microscopes (BX41, BX45, BH2)

Pathology Network downloadable forms for services

Please use the LIMS system for work requests.

For help with using LIMS for work requests, please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org

Services & fees

For all of the services listed below, project pricing will vary based on the nature of the request. Please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org for a project-specific cost estimate.

The Imaging and Analysis lab uses an Aperio® AT2 slide scanner. Slide scanning permits investigators to easily access their digital images of slides from anywhere using Aperio® eSlide Manager, a web-based digital pathology information management system. Annotation of the digital slides can be conducted via a digital platform using Aperio® ImageScope. This allows researchers to create digital images for publication as well as facilitate inter-institutional collaboration by providing rapid and easy sharing of digital image information.

AT2 system

Aperio® AT2 slide scanner

The AT2 is an ultra-fast, high-capacity scanning system with powerful 400-slide capacity. This system creates digital images from glass slides with superior image quality and includes the following features:

  • 20X and 40X scanning magnification capabilities
  • Create digital slides in multiple formats (SVS, JPEG, TIFF, composite web slide)
  • View and edit digital slides with the user-friendly and freely downloadable ImageScope viewing software
  • Connect multiple, remote parties through digital slide conferences.

ImageScope software

ImageScope is a freely downloadable viewing software for digital slide viewing. ImageScope is easy to use and puts a host of powerful capabilities at your fingertips.

  • View digital slides from any workstation on the network; this eliminates the need to physically transport glass slides instantly pan and zoom to any region of the slide.
  • Built-in web conferencing: real-time digital slide sharing and discussion in multiple remote locations.
  • View multiple digital slides concurrently.
  • Apply image adjustments in real time for contrast, brightness and gamma.
  • Analyze entire digital slides or selected regions.
  • Add graphical and text annotations to digital slides.
  • Use the built-in ruler to make on the spot measurements.
  • Save a region or selected regions of a digital slide to a file.
  • Allows researchers to create digital images for publication as well as facilitate inter-institutional collaboration by providing rapid and easy sharing of digital image information.
  • ImageScope also enables side-by-side coordinated viewing of multiple slides, something that cannot be done with traditional glass slides. In addition, Aperio's SmartSync™ feature makes it easy to compare different sections from the same tissue block, even when sections are rotated or translated with respect to one another.

Leica eSlide Manager (eSlide)

eSlide is a web-based digital pathology imaging and information management system. Access to eSlide can be granted by contacting Erika Van Dette at Erika.VanDette@RoswellPark.org or Leighton Stein at Leighton.Stein@RoswellPark.org.

Download the application form for a user account. The form must be filled out and submitted to the eSlide administrator at PRNImaging@RoswellPark.org. A brief eSlide tutorial session can be scheduled free of charge with Leighton Stein.

Automated image analysis

Image analysis is a service also provided by the Pathology Network Shared Resource (PNSR). Algorithms can be tailored to fine tune the cellular, nuclear, and stain parameters, creating an optimized algorithm macro for each antibody target and tissue type to select the cells of interest. The original digital slide image is never modified. Rather, an annotation layer with the markup image and quantitative data is created and linked to the digital image. Currently, we have one full-time employee with expertise in digital slide analysis. The PNSR performs image analysis for slides stained by IHC only. Nuclear, cytoplasmic and membranous expression can be scored individually or in any combination. Vascular analysis can be performed and tailored to calculate specific vessels by tweaking vessel size parameters. Some dual stains can also be analyzed with this system depending on the type of stains and target. To inquire about this service contact Dr. Wiam Bshara at Wiam.Bshara@RoswellPark.org.

A variety of biospecimens are available from the Pathology Network Shared Resource (PNSR). Fresh and frozen tissues are collected by the tissue procurement lab. Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded tissue and tissue microarrays (TMAs) are built using the remnant blocks from the Paraffin Archive Resource (PAR). All tissue used for research is collected under remnant tissue protocol I 115707. The BioRepository Bank provides resources to investigators with IRB-approved protocols.

The following biospecimens are provided by the PNSR.


DNA and RNA are isolated from tumor and matching non-tumor tissues in the biobank. DNA and RNA are primarily extracted from frozen tissue samples, but DNA can be extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue as well. All samples are QC’ed after extraction to confirm that high quality DNA.

Please note that the numbers reported on this link are approximate. Please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org for a further assessment of samples available for your project.

DNA frozen

Genomic DNA is isolated using the Gentra DNA Purification Kit. QC: 260/280 ratios are evaluated and DNA is run on an agarose gel to confirm the presence of high molecular weight product.

RNA frozen

RNA is isolated using a Trizol extraction procedure. QC: 260/280 ratios are examined and an RNA aliquot is run on the Agilent bioanalyzer to evaluate RNA integrity. Specimens with an RNA Integrity Number (RIN) of seven or greater are generally suitable for expression analysis while those with a value of five to seven yield less than optimal results for array studies. Specimens with a RIN less than five are not suitable for array studies but may yield results for RT-PCR.

FFPE tissue

Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) blocks from surgical pathology tissues are archived and can be accessed for research purposes. Our archive of paraffin tissues is extensive, having approximately more than 200,000 cases dating back to 1993 that can be electronically searched and used for research purposes.

Fresh and frozen tissue

Fresh and frozen remnant tissues are from surgical specimen. These tissues can be stored and distributed for research purposes. Our biospecimens are procured by certified Pathologist Assistants and then stored in -80C freezers that are protected by state-of-the-art monitoring systems and 24/7 emergency contact schedules.

Scientist working in a lab
Refrigerators in a lab

Requests for fresh or frozen tissues are guided by the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) and are integrated with other shared resource facilities, (e.g., the Genomics Shared Resource).

The number of biospecimens available in the biobank varies by disease site and their utilization, which is subject to TRG approval and prioritization. Specific details for samples in the biobank including inventory, surgical events, tumor dimensions, and the numbers of tissues procured, banked, and distributed per disease site are available on the LIMS dashboard at https://rpcilims.roswellpark.org/.

TMA library

Tissue microarrays (TMAs) are constructed by using a hollow needle to remove very small tissue cores from multiple tumors of interest which are then inserted into a recipient paraffin block in an arrayed fashion. This format permits the screening of a large number of patient samples on a single slide. TMAs are an efficient and effective way to screen potential biomarkers and are typically used in conjunction with immunohistochemical (IHC) staining or fluorescent in situ hybridization.

The PNSR has constructed more than 200 different blocks representing a wide variety of disease and tissue types from more than 16,000 patients. PNSR has a large collection of assembled TMA blocks available representing a diverse selection of disease and tissue types.

Scientist working in a lab

Please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to inquire about the availability of biospecimens, a list of available TMAs or to inquire about constructing a TMA from cases of special interest to your research.

The Clinical Research Laboratory Services (CRLS) consists of a team of laboratory professionals dedicated to managing all aspects of biospecimens related to clinical trials. CRLS coordinates tissue feasibility for clinical trials and provides services for processing, storing, and the shipment of specimens for clinical trials.

All staff members are IATA certified to ship biological specimens and serves as a point of contact for addressing laboratory specimen related concerns. Team members function in lab and office areas dedicated to clinical research activities. Additionally, CRLS staff facilitates specimen testing and reporting, provide budgets, and review studies for lab implementation for clinical trials at Roswell Park.

The CRLS team is comprised of two labs. The labs are located in Gratwick Basic Science Building, which is dedicated to tissue management and in the Cell & Virus Building which manages non-tissue specimen.

CRLS performs the following tasks:

  • Processing of various specimen types, i.e., blood, urine, body fluids and bone marrow
  • Storage of specimens
  • Shipment of specimens (same day and/or batch)
  • Specimen transport
  • Tissue feasibility determination
  • Form and specimen requisition completion
  • Facilitate specimen testing and reporting
  • Facilitate budget completion
  • Study reviews for lab implementation
  • Protocol development

Please contact CRSLabAdminTeam@RoswellPark.org for a project specific cost estimate.

Scientist working with test tubes

The Histology Facility is a centralized lab that provides services for standard tissue processing and embedding, cryotomy, microtomy, general histology staining, antibody optimization, and immunohistochemistry (IHC). The Histology team also perform laser microdissection and sterile needle coring to isolate DNA from tumor samples. Histology staff work closely with the Biomedical Research Informatics Shared Resource and other core labs within the Pathology Network Shared Resource to identify samples sets, and then perform the required staining for research studies that use IHC. The lab uses several autostainers for consistent and high-throughput IHC staining. Antibody staining procedures and IHC slides are regularly reviewed by a pathologist for quality control. Histology continually works to expand our repertoire of antibody staining protocols and we currently have over 500 procedures.

The following histology services are provided by the Histology Facility:

  • Immunohistochemical staining
  • Antibody optimization for immunohistochemistry
  • Hematoxylin and eosin staining
  • Special histological staining (e.g., GMS, Masson’s Trichrome, PAS)
  • Cryotomy
  • Microtomy
  • Paraffin embedding
  • Standard tissue processing
  • Sterile needle coring for DNA/RNA isolation
Equipment in a research lab
Scientist working in a lab

Please contact Cassandra Whalen at 716-845-3006 or at Cassandra.Whalen@RoswellPark.org for a project specific cost estimate.

Frequently asked questions

Generally, every time tissue is being used for analysis with the purpose of exploring a hypothesis and publishing findings an IRB approval is needed. This could be done either as a BDR project or non-interventional, investigator initiated clinical trial. Contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to set up a meeting to review your project and we will help determine what time of research protocol will be submitted.

Contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to set up a meeting to review your project with representatives from PNSR, the IRB, BRISR, and DBBR. Following the meeting, PNSR will provide a project narrative to include with your BDR application, a copy of the application, and a list of the next steps to get your BDR approved as outlined in the following chart.

PNSR Flow Chart
Anytime tissue is used for research, the relevant TRG (Translational Research Group) should review the BDR application and the PNSR project narrative to evaluate the merits of the research and approve the utilization of tissue for this project.

Cost estimates for services and biospecimens are prepared on a project specific basis. If you would like a cost estimate, please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org. CCSG members are eligible to receive discounted pricing.

If you are looking to get basic information about available tissue for a cohort of patients, we recommend starting with nSight. Once you obtain your list of patients, please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to discuss your project and verify availability of tissue.

If searching nSight does not yield enough information or sufficient numbers of patients or you need more assistance on cohort selection, please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to arrange a meeting with representatives of that Pathology Network Shared Resource and the Biomedical Research Informatics Shared Resource.

Please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org to discuss what type of tissue and selection criteria. This will ensure that our search will accurately reflect the tissue type, number of patients, and volume of tissue available in the bank.

Yes. Please include the following statement in the acknowledgements section of your manuscript: This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant P30CA016056 involving the use of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Pathology Network Shared Resource.

Please contact PCFAdmin@RoswellPark.org.

Meet our team

Amy M. Troutman, MBA
Business Department Administrator
Phone: 716-845-3851
Email: Amy.Troutman@RoswellPark.org

Brandon Martens, BA, MLT
Supervising Pathology Resource Specialist
Clinical Research Laboratory Services
Phone: 716-845-8917
Email: Brandon.Martens@RoswellPark.org

CRLS Laboratory Services

Lori Mehnert
Sr. Pathology Clinical Research Technologist

Jason Czuprynski
Pathology Resource Technologist

Melinda Haarmeyer
Research Associate

CRLS Pathology Services

Carol Siegel
Pathology Resource Operations Manager-CRLS

Hannah Kunes
Pathology Resource Specialist

Uling Bunbury, BS, MPH
Research Associate

Pathology Core Facility

Cassandra Whalen
Pathology Core Project Manager I
Phone: 716-845-3006
Email: Cassandra.Whalen@RoswellPark.org

Karen Head
Research Associate
Tissue Procurement, Laser Microdissection

Patricia Brown
Pathology Research Technologist
Tissue Procurement

Haley Ward
Pathology Research Technologist
Tissue Procurement

Bridget Lenahan
Pathology Resource Technologist

Tanisha Robinson
Pathology Research Technologist

Erika VanDette
Pathology Research Technologist
TMA Lab, Aperio Slide Scanning

Leighton Stein
Research Associate
Aperio Image Analysis, IHC Staining

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Location and hours

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Pathology Network Shared Resource
Gratwick Basic Science Building, 6th Floor
Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, New York 14263

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This shared resource is funded by NCI P30CA16056.

Please acknowledge PNSR efforts in any publications generated from use of PNSR biospecimens or research pathology services. Publications should cite the core grant in the acknowledgment section as follows:

Biospecimens or research pathology services for this study were provided by the Pathology Network Shared Resource, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI P30CA16056) and is a Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Center Support Grant shared resource.

Two copies of the publication acknowledging the core grant should also be submitted to the shared resource at Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo NY 14263.

The Pathology Network Shared Resource at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a comprehensive tissue resource that functions to provide biospecimens (tumor tissues and their derivatives) for research and a range of services that accompany biospecimens. This shared resource facility has more than 20 staff members and more than 10,000 square feet of research space.

Functionally the PNSR is divided into general histology, biospecimen procurement and banking, digital scanning and image scoring, and clinical trials service.

The histology subsection provides general histology, immunostaining, and other specialized tissue staining services. Accompanying digital scanning and image scoring services are also available.

The resource has extensive experience with handling fresh, frozen, or formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from human, mouse or rat sources.

Immunohistochemistry is a major component of the PNSR services and more than 100 antibodies are optimized annually; more than 700 antibody staining procedures are currently available for research requests.

Equally important, the biospecimen procurement and banking subsection of the PNSR is considered to be one of the finest programs in the country, and was presented at the 2008 and 2009 annual meetings of the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI) as a model of excellence.

All biospecimen procurement is performed by trained, certified, Pathologist Assistants using detailed SOPs, and all banking activities are recorded by an electronic Laboratory Information Management System.

Procured biospecimens are stored in -80C freezers that are protected by stat-of-the-art monitoring systems with backup. The PNSR biobank was the 6th leading contributor of specimens to The Cancer Genome Atlas attesting to the tumor tissue resources available at Roswell Park.

The PNSR also offers clinical block archiving, review and retrieval services, tissue microarray construction, spectral karyotyping, Aperio slide scanning and laser microdissection services.

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