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JoEllen Weaver, BS, MT

JoEllen Weaver, BS, MT
JoEllen Weaver, BS, MT, is the manager of the Biosample Repository here at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

As manager of the Biosample Repository, Weaver supervises the day-to-day operations of the facility.

When researchers are in need of a patient sample for a study, they consult the appropriate physician, and JoEllen serves as the link to facilitate the transaction between the two.

"The size of Fox Chase truly allows for seamless interactions between the research and clinical world," explains JoEllen.

The repository contains many thousands of tissue and blood specimens from cancer patients treated at Fox Chase. It is a resource that will prove extremely valuable in furthering translational research into the molecular basis of cancer.

When JoEllen arrived in 1996 to manage the Biosample Repository, the facility was hardly the massive catalog it is today. It consisted of just her and a simple cabinet full of color-coded blood samples, from which she would pull five or six samples per study for researchers. Now, the facility is staffed with a team of 12 and fields requests for about 100 to 200 samples per study.

"I enjoy when a researcher comes in with a completely new idea," says Joellen, who shared one such idea recently proposed by principal investigator Tony Yeung.

"He came up with a study for a possible way to predict pancreatic cancer and needed pancreatic cyst fluid for his study," she explains. "He worked with one of the clinicians and they started to collect pancreatic cyst fluid from a consented patient. This type of new research is exciting to me, to be able to create a test for a better predictor of pancreatic cancer because it could potentially save lives."

When asked about the future of the Repository as a resource for Fox Chase, JoEllen believes that it will no doubt play a key role in the future of the personalized medicine for Fox Chase patients.