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A Repository to Support NIMH-Relevant Patient-Derived Stem Cell Research

NAMHC Concept Clearance


David Panchision, Ph.D.
Chief, Developmental Neurobiology Program
Molecular, Cellular & Genomic Neuroscience Research Branch
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS)


This initiative will establish a repository/bank for control and patient-derived primary cells and their reprogrammed derivatives, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), to support stem cell research relevant to NIMH-aligned disorders.


New technologies now allow the reprogramming of patient-derived tissue to cell lines, such as iPSCs and induced neuronal cells (iNCs). Because these cells recapitulate many processes that occur during brain development, they provide unique tools to elucidate the basic molecular, cellular, and developmental defects underlying psychiatric illnesses.

The establishment of primary and reprogrammed cell lines is time and resource-intensive and diverts effort from more disease-relevant research. A central cell repository to support this research would maximize the value of NIMH investments in stem cell research. Additionally, it would provide well-characterized, standardized cellular reagents to a broader cross-section of the neuroscience community members who might not otherwise have access to patient samples. Finally, it would facilitate comparison of results from different laboratories.

This initiative would establish a repository/bank for patient-derived cells and their reprogrammed derivatives to support research relevant to NIMH-aligned disorders, including but not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. The capabilities of the resource can range from simple banking of tissue-derived fibroblasts/keratinocytes/olfactory epithelial cells, to more comprehensive derivation, validation, and/or banking of iPSCs or iNCs. Successful applications will demonstrate exceptional quality control and quality assurance procedures, clear standard operating procedures, as well as facilities and infrastructure for inventory and database management, storage, and distribution of viable biologicals, and procedures for adherence to all NIH rules and guidance regarding informed consent and tissue acquisition.

Capabilities can include:

  • Guidance with tissue shipment to repository
  • Initial isolation, scale-up culture, and/or banking of primary cells (e.g., fibroblasts) from tissue
  • Cell reprogramming, validation and/or banking of iPSCs/iNCs
  • Characterization of phenotype, cell line-to-line variability, and cell line genomic stability
  • Integration with collection and distribution of other patient-matched tissues, data (e.g. DNA sequence)

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