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NIH NeuroBioBank


Gregory Farber, Ph.D. 
Office of Technology Development and Coordination


This concept seeks to continue the NIH NeuroBioBank (NBB) program which is a network of brain and tissue repositories and related resources that provide biospecimens to the neuroscience research community. In this competitive continuation, NIMH expects the program to continue to serve as a repository but also expects increased outreach efforts to increase the diversity of donors, and enhanced harmonization of donor-associated data across the network.


The NIH NBB was established in 2013 and is a trans-NIH initiative funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.

This concept aims to continue to maximize the availability of high-quality, well-characterized, postmortem human brain tissue to support scientific studies while simultaneously achieving greater efficiencies and better coordination of this resource using a centralized management approach. In addition to brain and nervous system tissue banking and distribution, the NBB aims to increase public awareness of the contributions of brain donation in improving the understanding of brain function and correlates of dysfunction and contributes to the development of best practices for the acquisition, processing, storage, characterization, and distribution of human tissues.

The current network of repositories actively recruits and registers potential donors with diverse neurodevelopmental, neurological, and psychiatric disorders, as well as healthy individuals. In addition to recruitment, the NBB acquires postmortem brains and nervous system tissue, processes the tissue, optimally preserves, characterizes, and distributes it to investigators to support basic and translational neuroscience research and drug development. Detailed deidentified clinical, phenotypical, and neuropathological data are acquired on donors and specimens by a team of clinicians and listed with inventory on the publicly accessible NBB informatics portal. Requests for specimens from the research community are reviewed and approved in a transparent manner and assigned for distribution to researchers at multiple institutions across the globe.

Since inception, the NBB has contributed to the mission to facilitate research through democratization of access to human brain tissues by:

  • providing high-quality specimens to meet new and emerging technology requirements,
  • contributing to the development of evidence-based best practices, and 
  • promoting the general public’s awareness of brain donation to support neuroscience research.

The continuation of the NBB will allow this resource to continue to provide high quality tissue to hundreds of researchers annually.