The Cellular Therapy Laboratory is a jointly operated facility that processes and stores cellular therapy products for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In addition, the lab processes and stores product collected by the National Marrow Donor Center. Both hospitals are approved NMDP transplant centers.

The lab works closely with the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Pheresis Center, which collects cellular products for processing. These products are either stored in the BJH Cellular Therapy Laboratory or are packaged and transported for shipping by the appropriate research team member if required for a clinical study.

Product processing includes sampling, performing cell counts (CBC, flow), cell viability by trypan blue and 7AAS sterility cultures by VersaTREK system, plasma reduction, red-cell reduction, thaw/wash and cryopreservation in 10% DMSO using validated control-rate freezing.

All products are transported in validated coolers, LN2 dewars or dry shippers as appropriate for their type and state. Cooler transports are monitored with a min/max thermometer. LN2 dewars and dry shippers are validated annually for maximum hold time.

For cellular products that are stored, the laboratory uses a validated temperature monitoring system for each storage type — refrigerated or vapor LN2 storage. The monitoring system provides 24-hour notification to onsite facility staff via telephone and email for temperature alerts.

In addition to collecting and storing cellular products manufactured on campus, the lab offers dedicated storage for cellular therapy products manufactured by outside facilities for research purposes.

The lab is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The lab is registered with the FDA and adheres to all applicable regulations.


The lab is staffed Monday-Friday during normal business hours.


Laboratory Medical Director
Suzanne Thibodeaux, MD, PhD

Technical Supervisor
Diane Sempek, MT(ASCP) SBB

Medical Technologists:   
Tanya Williams, MT (ASCP)
Yelena Barkey, MT (ASCP)
Joanna Beck, MT (ASCP)
Courtney Brown, MT (ASCP)
Mackenzie Martin, MT (ASCP)

Research Coordinator:
Christy Lapka, MS, RD, CCRP