Prior to starting a project, investigators must discuss with the User Resource staff the AMS specific protocols that need to be incorporated into their experimental procedures. This will include methods to minimize contamination of samples, inclusion of appropriate controls, as well as advice on how to prepare samples for submission to the User Resource.
If human subjects or vertebrate animals are involved as the source of sample material, all documentation of approval for the experimental protocols utilized must be accepted by and on file with the User Resource before such samples may be sent for analysis.
Notification of impending or actual shipment of samples to the User Resource must be sent by email to the User Resource along with the completed “BioAMS Sample Submission form,” available in both PDF and MS Excel. For proper notification, send the email notification to the designated staff member for your project.
The BioAMS Sample Submission form should list each sample’s ID and description (e.g., tissue type), quantity (e.g., volume and concentration, approximate weight), an estimated or measured DPM of the sample and how this was determined, and the molecular weight and specific activity (mCi/mmol) of the labeled compound. It is advisable that the level of 14C in a representative set of the experimental samples be evaluated, usually by liquid scintillation counting, prior to sending the samples for AMS analysis. Any questions about the appropriate level 14C in the samples should be addressed to your scientific contact at the User Resource. Including all the necessary information on the sample submission form helps avoid delay in sample processing. Any other relevant sample information should be added to the form.
Biological samples submitted for analysis are most often shipped on dry ice or lyophilized prior to packaging. Unless samples have been dried, all biological samples should be frozen and shipped on dry ice. Individual samples should be placed in airtight, securely capped containers. Screw top vials are preferred to prevent tops from popping open during flights. If a pop-top vial is used, secure it with parafilm. The containers must have labels bearing requester’s name, sample name (code names are desirable if chemical name is lengthy), User Resource project number, and the date. This labeling should be easily read and done with indelible marker. If the sample material is not clearly identified, the samples will not be processed. A hardcopy of the completed BioAMS Sample Submission form should accompany the samples in the shipping box. Overnight courier services are most often used instead of standard mail for shipping of samples. Be aware that boxes can be inverted, shaken, bounced, etc. during transit. Therefore samples need to be properly secured. When packed in dry ice, clearly state so on the exterior of the shipping box. Parafilm and tape can become brittle and fall off when in direct contact with dry ice. Always ship samples in secondary containment to prevent direct contact between sample vials and dry ice while providing additional protection for samples. An example of proper secondary containment would be placing 1 mL vials in sample boxes designed to hold them and then placing the box in a resealable plastic bag (i.e., Ziploc®) that is then placed in dry ice in a Styrofoam shipping box. An alternative could be placing several parafilm sealed vials inside a screw top Falcon tube to prevent rattling and placing the Falcon tubes inside a resealable plastic bag that is then placed in dry ice. Finally, an electronic copy of the completed BioAMS Sample Submission form and shipment tracking information should be emailed to the User Resource staff member with whom you are working.
Ship samples to:
Biosciences and Biotechnology Division, L-452
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Avenue
Livermore, CA 94550
Samples will be run in the order received. Sample turn around will vary but based on previous experience, should be on the order of 2 to 4 weeks. Data will be returned to the submitter by their scientific contact on the staff via email. Excess sample material will be disposed of after measurement, unless special arrangements are made.