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Program Description

The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) has been established at McLean Hospital since 1978, as a centralized resource for the collection and distribution of human brain specimens for brain research. Research over the past decades has shown that the study of human brain tissue is essential to increasing our understanding of how the nervous system functions. Genetic, molecular, and anatomical studies on the human brain, focusing on the biological nature of the severe psychiatric and neurological illnesses, are emerging, thanks to the efforts of the HBTRC, dedicated investigators and the generosity of a growing number of brain donors and their families. These studies are bringing forth new hope for understanding the underlying brain mechanisms responsible for several highly debilitating brain disorders. In order to perform research into the neurological and psychiatric disorders, it is also vital to collect brains from individuals without these disorders (controls), which the HBTRC gratefully accepts. Control brains allow us to expand our knowledge of the human brain and to understand what changes occur in people suffering from brain disorders.

Scientists from the nation's top academic and medical centers request tissue from HBTRC for their research. Since the majority of these studies can be carried out on a very small amount of tissue, each donated brain provides a large number of samples for many researchers. However, in order to conduct valid experiments, it is necessary to supply researchers with a variety of brain specimens.

The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center collects human brain tissue for brain research. Please call 1-800-BRAIN BANK, (1-800-272-4622) for more information about Making a Brain Donation.    


Acceptable Diagnoses

Normal Controls (no brain disorders)

Psychiatric Disorders

Neurological Disorders

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Special Collections


Modified:  02-Oct-2016