What is BioVU?

What is BioVU?

BioVU is Vanderbilt’s collection, or “bank,” of de-identified samples, which include DNA, and Plasma. DNA is found in all of your cells and is what carries information from parents to children. Specific sections of DNA, called genes, control certain traits (like eye color) or may be involved in certain diseases. Researchers are using these samples to study the links between genes and disease and between genes and how a patient might respond to a prescribed medication.

During routine patient care, doctors may order tests that monitor or help them treat the patient. These tests require a sample, like blood. Often, portions of the samples are leftover and thrown away. BioVU is a program that “banks” de-identified samples to help researchers discover links between genes and disease. Patients have a choice to donate any leftover samples to BioVU by signing the BioVU consent form during check-in at a VUMC outpatient clinic. And patients can change their decision at any time by calling 866-436-4710. 

BioVU collects about 500 DNA samples per week totaling over 300,000 DNA samples in BioVU in the winter of 2023! This makes BioVU one of the largest EHR-based biobanks in the world at a single center!  BioVU has also totaled 2,539 banked plasma samples. Learn more about our 200+ ongoing projects using BioVU. BioVU is a novel research tool for Vanderbilt researchers and colleagues.

Although the samples come from patients, there is no way to determine who they are from their sample. Each sample collected for BioVU is de-identified and the BioVU program takes patient privacy very seriously. BioVU gives each blood sample a special code. This code matches the sample to a copy of a patient’s medical record that cannot be linked back to the patient, making it “de-identified.” Any information such as name, medical record numbers, and dates (like your birth date) is removed or de-identified. We also get rid of some samples at random. That way, no one can know whose sample is in BioVU.

Patients have the opportunity to not have their samples saved for research and they can choose to not sign the BioVU consent form. More questions about BioVU can be found in under the BioVU FAQ section