Brain Banks Unite to Bolster Autism Research

Two brain banks are collaborating with the National Institute of Mental Health to improve tissue donation protocols.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is launching a collaborative effort to collect, store, and distribute human brain tissue for autism research.

The agreement will help redouble efforts by the National Institute of Health’s NeuroBioBank and the Autism BrainNet, which focuses specifically on tissue for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research. By working together, the tissue repository networks will develop best practices for collection and distribution of human brain tissue.

“One of the best ways for us to fully understand the molecular and cellular characteristics associated with the development and progression of ASD is to study brain tissue from individuals with ASD,” said NIMH Acting Director Bruce Cuthbert, PhD. “This unified effort will allow researchers to generate new data, which will enhance our understanding of this disorder and ultimately speed progress toward new and personalized interventions for individuals across the autism spectrum.”

The networks will work together to improve protocols at tissue collection and research sites, including improving procedures for obtaining consent, safeguarding privacy, processing and maintaining donor tissue, and collecting donors’ clinical, medical, and education records.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the fair distribution of high-quality donor brain tissue to autism researchers around the world.


  1. NIH Press Release