The University of Massachusetts Amherst

IALS Clinical Testing Center


Meet some of the students working in the ICTC over on Instagram.

Community Testing

Kits for UNOBSERVED TESTING can be picked up at multiple locations, on and off-campus. See Community Testing webpage for details.

Watch one of our Hamilton Robots help our ICTC staff safely process community asymptomatic samples for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) qPCR testing.

ICTC, Massachusetts Department of Public Health assigned CLIA number 22D2191348) MA State Licensure, FULL CLIA


"This lab utilizes the ‘gold standard’ SARS-C0V-2 assay – involving RNA extraction/qPCR, to ensure the lowest possible false positive/false negative results."

To provide a greater safety margin for the UMass Amherst campus a local SARS-CoV-2 adaptive testing ‘surge facility’ has been established – IALS Clinical Testing Center (ICTC).  An enhanced capacity is needed to provide testing for the more than 40,000 individuals making up the UMass Amherst campus at full capacity, let alone other testing capacity needed for other regional campuses without the resources to establish their own CLIA certifies testing lab, or the townships surrounding the UMass Amherst campus.

"Highly automated assay using standard reagents instead of 'Kits'."

Of particular concern are pre-symptomatic and minimally symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals that can spread COVID-19 without realizing it.  Furthermore, the presence of ‘super-spreaders’ – individuals choosing not to comply with important public health safety measures (i.e. social distancing, wearing PPE, SARS-CoV-2 testing, etc.) – are believed to lead to localized ‘hot spots’ that need to be rapidly identified and dealt with. ‘Adaptive Testing’ – meaning adjusting the testing volume/frequency based on changes in local conditions from day to day – has the capacity to rapidly identify any increases in COVID-19, and in particular identify ‘hot-spots’ of infections that need to be dealt with quickly.  It also has significant value for increasing the perceived safety for front line workers.


Nasal Swabs/Tubes and Sample Manifests are Accessioned into ICTC and the Sequoia LIMS.


Sample Preparation for Robotics

Nasal Swabs/Tubes are QCed and Loaded into Liquid-handler Carrier Racks.


RNA Extraction

RNA from Nasal Swabs is Extracted and Purified using Robotics, Data Tracked on LIMS.



Purified RNA from Nasal Swabs is Prepared for PCR, Human and Viral Sequences are Amplified using PCR, and Results - COVID-19 Negative or COVID-19 Positive - are reported out to LIMS (Sequoia).