The Human Milk Science Institute and Biobank (HMSIB) is a non-profit organization that’s mission is to foster and advance research through the sharing of biological samples, data, and services. Our goal is to be a convenient, reliable, and affordable source for samples and/or data for researchers.

Types of Samples

HMSIB offers different human milk sample types to meet a variety of research needs. These include:

  • Samples pumped at the donor’s home. Samples are pumped at the donor’s home before being shipped to the HMSIB, where they are aliquoted and transferred to a -80°C freezer.
  • Samples pumped onsite and immediately processed. These samples are pumped directly at the HMSIB before being prepared, described below:
    • Frozen in a -80°C freezer without further manipulation.
    • Supernatant resulting from centrifugation of fresh human milk without further manipulation.
    • Cellular component resulting from centrifugation of fresh human milk with RNALater added.
    • Other samples available upon request.

Storage of Samples

All milk samples are stored onsite at -80°C in either 5 mL or 15 mL amber tubes.

Data Provided

Each sample is paired with hundreds of points of data. The de-identified maternal and infant data associated with each human milk sample includes: clinical data, demographics, diet, and a lifestyle questionnaire that includes the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a Perceived Stress Scale, and a Leisure-time Exercise questionnaire.


Should an investigator require something different from our standard samples, we are happy to discuss customization including custom questionnaire creation and data for specific projects. We have permission to recontact donors to obtain the necessary data.

Informed Consent

All subjects have provided informed consent for their milk, saliva, and/or data to be used for research purposes.

IRB Approval Info

Advarra IRB, PRO00027965

Funding Information

The Human Milk Science Institute and Biobank was created with a generous grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

Researchers are charged a per-sample fee to cover the costs associated with the collection, processing, and storage of samples.

Obtaining samples

All sample requests must be approved by the Board of Directors of HMSIB. The organization will not provide samples for work that is involved in the creation or support of human milk substitutes. As part of the materials transfer agreement, investigators must sign a statement attesting that their work is not for such use and disclose all funding sources.

To encourage the next generation of human milk researchers, the Biobank offers a limited number of discounted samples for post-baccalaureate or predoctoral student projects.

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank

HMSIB partners with Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank, a non-profit organization that provides neonatal intensive care units and medically fragile outpatients in PA, WV, NJ, and MD with tested and pasteurized human milk from screened volunteer donors. Learn more about the milk bank.

For sample inquires, pricing, or questions please complete the contact form.