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​Brain Bank Managers

These pages are to inform brain bank employees and to serve as a source of documentation to help the banks work in a harmonised way.  We’re continually working to improve these documents to make them more helpful, and to facilitate tissue exchange between an increasingly wide research base.

Any queries or comments should be directed either through the MRC, via Dr Simon Fisher, or through the Network’s director, Professor Colin Smith. Please contact the MRC or the director of the Network if you hear of any exciting brain banking activities or publications on the horizon that have used Network tissue samples. The UKRI press team can help publicise the great work coming from the banks so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have had a paper accepted for publication.

Workshops, training days and reports

The Network holds annual meetings/training sessions for UK brain bank administrators and coordinators. 

Approved documentation for brain banks in the UK Brain Bank Network and sample forms

These documents have been approved by the Brain Bank Network Management Group to serve as a helpful source of information and instruction.

Measures of success

Performance criteria for brain banks in the UK Brain Bank Network

We collect a variety of information from the Network’s banks to ensure standards of collection are being met and that researchers have access to the best quality tissue and data. 

The following information is collected annually from all the banks as measures of success:

  • Operational data - traceability of tissues, location of tissues, records of disposal and “stock taking performance” - records of cases and their accuracy etc. Transparency in the quality of the clinical data and records that accompany the samples e.g. BDR, cohort or local brain bank cases.
  • Tissue quality parameters – pH, fixation time, post-mortem delay and RIN are the agreed minimum data that will be collected for each donation. The agreed definition of post-mortem delay is - the time between death and the stabilisation of the tissue by formalin or freezing. In addition, if available, information on how the body was stored (fridge or room temperature) should be recorded.
  • Turnover - number of cases/samples received, stored and provided to researchers. Information on whether this is the whole brain or blocks, if blocks the number and the storage method (paraffin or frozen). Provision of workload statistics to record the time spent on these activities.
  • Marketing - marketing research work and evidence that the relevant research community is aware of the resources available.
  • Accessibility – what has been done to facilitate access by researchers to tissue samples across the Network?
  • Provision of samples - how many projects from the UK and overseas are supported by the brain banks in question and how many samples have been provided to each project? Have any new groups applied for tissue samples? What is the success rate for applications for tissue samples?
  • Use of samples - how many papers are published as a result of the brain banking activity and how many patents are generated from this work?
  • Industry - the extent of use by industry could also be considered as another parameter.

Agreed (timed) objectives for brain banks within the network

Project Area


Deliverable Time Period

Tissue Procurement – Number of donations frozen

90% of brains have frozen tissue


Per year


Clinical/Neuropath Reporting – Report finalised

Average 16 weeks


After donation


Tissue Requests – Time to notification of researcher by management board

3 weeks


After receiving fully completed application


Tissue Requests – Supply of tissue to researchers

Project specific


Agreed time frame between TB and researcher


Tissue Requests – Obtain written report of research carried out on tissue by the researcher

Project specific


6 months after tissue supply (12 months for large projects)

Public visibility – Talks to patient interest groups/Health Care Professionals

Project specific


Per year


Public visibility – Attendance at scientific meetings to advertise tissue bank

Project specific


Per year