McCall, Duke BRPC Receive $3.4 Million From NCI

Shannon McCall, MDShannon McCall, MDShannon J. McCall, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of the Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (BRPC) has received a grant of over $3.4 million from the National Cancer Institute. The award will support the Duke BRPC as the newest member of the NCI’s Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN). The CHTN was established in 1987 to increase the access by academic and private investigators to human tissue and tissue processing services to accelerate the pace of cancer research.  

Made up of one national pediatric and five divisional academic, pathologist-led biorepositories, the CHTN provide researchers around the world with biospecimens and tissue processing services suited to their specific experimental needs. CHTN PIs are expected to be active in the biomedical research community and contribute to research, biospecimen science and policy on an international level.

Since its inception in 1987, only eight institutions have ever been part of the CHTN. This spring, Dr. McCall and the Duke team will become the Southern Division of the CHTN and join five incumbent biorepositories, listed here along with their principal investigators:

  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center (CHTN Western Division): Dr. Mary Kay Washington
  • University of Pennsylvania (CHTN Eastern Division): Dr. Virginia LiVolsi
  • University of Virginia (CHTN Mid-Atlantic Division): Dr. Christopher Moskaluk
  • Ohio State University (CHTN Midwestern Division): Dr. Anil Parwani
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital (CHTN Pediatric Division): Dr. Nilsa Ramirez

Dr. McCall is a practicing gastrointestinal pathologist at Duke and is also board-certified in Clinical Informatics.  In addition to directing the BRPC at Duke, Dr. McCall is Duke Site PI and Steering Committee member for the American Association of Cancer Research’s (AACR) Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE) project. She co-leads the Duke Precision Cancer Medicine Initiative which harnesses tumor nucleic acid and protein biomarker data to drive personalized cancer treatment and annotate research biospecimens. Dr. McCall is a member of the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Standards Committee and is the Vice-chair of the Biorepository Accreditation Program Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).  She studies upper GI tract carcinogenesis and previously served as a member of the data analysis working group for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) esophageal and pan-GI projects. 

The Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (BRPC) was created in 2012 with investment from the Duke Cancer Institute and the Duke University School of Medicine. The BRPC has been accredited by the College of American Pathologists as a biorepository since 2013.  A broad research biobanking protocol covers the BRPC’s procurement activities, allowing excess tissue, biopsy tissue and research blood donation.  About 5,000 Duke patients have elected to participate in the BRPC so far. The biorepository also contains millions of archival patient tissue samples that can be accessed for research under Duke Institutional Review Board oversight. The Duke BRPC Management Team includes Associate Director Dr. Sara Jiang, Research Program Leader (and CHTN Coordinator) Aubrey Coulas, BS, and Shared Resource Laboratory Manager Thomas Ribar, BS.  More information about the Duke BRPC can be found at More information about the Cooperative Human Tissue Network can be found at