In 2011, when NCRC leadership first began planning service provisions to support research, their main goal was to offer the tactical functions that enable researchers to focus on their highest priority work.
Six years later, in 2017, these services have expanded to support the Medical Center, with an onsite services team that directly benefits occupants by taking care of daily lab operations. This support will allow investigators more time to perform research, regain valuable space within the lab footprint, and increase surplus sales volume.
Research Services currently supports the following services at the Medical Center:
MShip Packaging and Shipping Services
A full packaging and shipping service for all Medical School departments for domestic and international shipments of research hazardous materials, MShip offers
- Convenience – Packaging, labeling, and shipping forms completed for researchers
- Compliance – Verification via My LINC that all required training is current
- Cost Effectiveness – Cost to departments is the courier shipping fee only, and departments providing correct content information are not responsible for any subsequent fines resulting from non-compliant shipments
MShip has already processed over 400 shipments for the Medical School. Catherine Meldrum, Clinical Nurse IV, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, says that MShip “has helped us ship research specimens seamlessly to their destinations, both nationally and internationally.”
Biohazardous Waste Removal
Removing biohazardous waste to be treated offsite has significantly increased time for “clean” autoclaving and reduced onsite waste safety hazards. In addition, moving all biohazardous waste offsite will save U-M $327K each year.
As Brenda Franklin, Microbiologist Staff Specialist for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, notes, “The new Medical School biohazardous waste removal program process is clear, logical and effective. Our laboratory staff has a cleaner and safer environment, and the autoclaves are now available for continued research, whereas in the past the autoclave units were often not available due to numerous cycles of biohazardous waste ‘dirty autoclaving.’ In addition, this process has reduced wear and tear on the units, and there is less down time due to waste being melted in the units. It’s also a huge time-saver for laboratory staff, since they are able to easily take biohazardous waste to the designated area, knowing that it will properly be disposed of in a timely manner.”
Janet Follo, Biological Safety Manager of Environment, Health, and Safety, adds, “The volume of untreated waste held in the labs while waiting to use the autoclave has been minimized, leading to an improvement in housekeeping. The new service has also simplified the handling of biological waste, reducing the amount of follow-up needed from our office due to improper management of waste.”
Autoclaving and Glass Washing Pilot Program at the Biomedical Science Research Building
The Research Services team envisions a door-to-door glass washing and autoclave cleaning service at BSRB, including:
- Glass wash
- Glassware sterilization
- Instrument sterilization
- Growth media sterilization
- Custom wash and sterilization
These services would be free of charge to the user. If successful at BSRB, this program will be expanded to the entire Medical Center.
Property Disposition Facilitation
Research Services coordinates a centrally operated and funded service to aid departments in expedited disposal of surplus property. So far, nine truckloads of unwanted lab and office equipment have been removed to Property Disposition, clearing over 5500 square feet of space that can now be used for research.
Lori Longeway-Mirabitur of Cell and Developmental Biology writes, “We have a new chair coming in August, and were running a bit behind schedule turning over a lab for them. We were able to have some equipment moved the day we contacted Research Services, and the rest removed a few days later. This service and the dedicated staff who oversaw the process certainly helped CDB move forward with renovation, and make space for our new chair.”
Biological Sample Transport Courier Services
Over the last year Unity Lab Services (ULS) has made more than 1300 biological sample transport runs between the Medical Center and NCRC, including the East Ann Arbor and Domino Farms locations.
As Anna Colvig of the Unit of Laboratory Animal Medicine reports, “We would lose a large amount of employee time without the help of ULS with lab operations from shipping and biohazard waste to courier services and supplies. Our lab knows we can turn to them for anything, both as we collaborate within NCRC, and continue to interact with the Medical Center.”
For more information on the Research Services offerings at NCRC and the Medical Center, visit