How to Keep Things Really Cold
MRNA COVID-19 vaccines have given the public a crash course in cold storage. Suspending biology’s self-destructive forces, we’ve learned, requires freezing them well below freezing. Epidemiology Professor Homayoon Farzadegan, PhD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository, oversees the School’s cryogenic facility, where time stands still within a fleet of aluminum units. Inside, clouds of liquid nitrogen ensure that valuable samples, stored at minus 180 degrees Celsius, survive well into the future.
Image at top: Liquid nitrogen vapor escapes a cryogenic unit as research technologist Chyna Armstrong retrieves a biospecimen. Photo by Chris Hartlove