USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Translational Pathology Core

The mission of the TPC is to facilitate high-impact cancer research by providing high-quality tissue procurement, processing, and banking resources to USC Norris investigators working on all aspects of cancer research. TPC team members work with USC Norris investigators on the planning, design, and feasibility of cancer research studies requiring human biospecimens and play a key role in procuring tissue for USC Norris clinical trials. TPC serves as a key infrastructural element in providing human biospecimens for all five USC Norris Research Programs.

TPC Services

      • Procurement, processing, tracking, and distribution of formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue from USC Norris hospitals including Los Angeles General Medical Center, Keck Hospital, Norris Cancer Hospital, and CHLA, as well as other catchment area hospitals through the RTR.
      • Procurement, processing, tracking, and distribution of fresh/frozen tissue. This has been greatly enhanced by the new biobanking informatics platform, OpenSpecimen.
      • Immunohistochemistry/Immunofluorescence, including new antibody validation.
      • Design and construction of tissue micro-arrays (TMAs) including a new automated TMA instrument.
      • Whole slide scanning and image analysis/AI New Service.
      • Full range of histology services including custom embedding and processing.
      • Processing blood for serum, plasma, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
      • Ficoll-hypaque blood/bone marrow specimens.
      • Processing urine, cerebrospinal fluid and other body fluids.
      • Consultation for design and feasibility.
      • Sub-specialty Anatomic Pathology review. 

The TPC ensures the rigorous conduct of USC Norris research by: 

      • Requiring IRB approval for all studies including California State Department of Health Services Office of Protection of Human Subjects for the patient information linked to the RTR.
      • Ensuring that signed Informed Consent has been obtained.
      • Ensuring that all biospecimens utilized in clinical trials are handled according to CLIA/CAP regulations.
      • Providing broad Informed Consent for tissues procurement for the ORIEN Total Cancer Care initiative.

TPC Policies

      • TPC is accessible to all USC Norris members. The TPC director engages in outreach among USC Norris members through Grand Rounds and at USC Norris program meetings to increase usage.
      • USC Norris full members receive a 20 % subsidy.
      • TPC will provide an initial free consultation to those requesting Core services to determine the feasibility and scope of a project. The potential outputs of the initial consultation period will be a feasibility assessment, project scope, and project plan including cost estimate and timeline. Once the project plan is developed and agreed upon, all further activities will generate Core charges.
      • Mechanisms are in place to ensure that the TPC has the appropriate recharge account numbers in place prior to initiating a study. It is expected that appropriate and adequate funding support for TPC services is included in all grant applications and proposals.
      • USC Norris program members are encouraged to discuss study design and number of specimens needed for grant proposals as early as possible in the grant writing process to ensure feasibility of acquiring the specimens and the necessary costs.
      • Acknowledgment of the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center CCSG grant (NCI grant # P30CA014089) in scientific manuscripts is required when TPC services have been provided.

TPC Leadership

William Dean Wallace, MD


Adult Tissue Service

Andy E. Sherrod, MD


Professor of Clinical Pathology; Chief of

Anatomic Pathology, Keck Medical Center of

USC and Norris Cancer Center Hospital


Mo-Li Chen


Population-Based Tissue Service

Christopher Haiman, ScD


Professor of Preventive Medicine; AFLAC Chair in

Cancer Research


Jose Aparicio


 Pediatric Tissue Service

Jennifer Cotter, MD


Director of Pediatric Biorepository, 

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Monica Mendez