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About Us

The National Institutes of Health have established and funded a network of six Brain and Tissue Banks referred to as the NIH NeuroBioBank. Each of the banks collects and distributes tissue from donors with neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, and psychiatric disorders as well as control donors lacking any clinical brain diagnosis. The UMB Brain and Tissue Bank is located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics in Baltimore, Maryland. It was formerly the "NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders" until becoming part of the NIH NeuroBioBank. 

The mission of the UMB BTB is to advance the research of developmental, neurologic and movement disorders. The objective of this human tissue repository is to systematically collect, store, and distribute brain and other tissues for research dedicated to the improved understanding, care and treatment of individuals with these disorders.

Our History

In 1991 the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development, at the request of families who wanted increased research on developmental disorders that impacted the lives of their children, funded a Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Within a few years the Bank became a major source of tissue from literally hundreds of disorders due to the generous tissue donations by families throughout the United States and 6 foreign countries.  The Bank has accepted tissue donation from over 4000 families from 49 of the states in the Union, as well as tissue from a small number of donors in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Spain and South Africa. The tissue is carefully evaluated for quality and stored in closely monitored freezers and in a fixative solution to meet the wide range of research needs of the scientific community...

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Our Principles

  • The emotional and physical well-being of the families and individuals we interact with is our greatest priority.
  • Time is taken to inform every person involved of the purpose and process of tissue donation. All questions are answered to the best of our ability.
  • Written information is provided to potential donors for future reference.
  • All donor information is kept in strictest confidence.
  • We attempt to instill in all professional staff the importance of the great contribution which donors are making to society.
  • Since every effort is made to encourage professional staff to volunteer their time and effort on behalf of medical research, we acknowledge sincere gratitude to all individuals participating in tissue retrieval.
  • Representatives of the Bank will make every effort to inform qualified researchers of the availability of the tissue. In doing so, the goal and purpose of the precious gift of tissue can be fully realized.
  • Every effort will be made to assure the equitable distribution of tissue, with special emphasis on furthering research directed toward improved treatment or a cure for the disorder of the donor.
  • Tissue recovery occurs at the most stressful time for the family. As the recovery teams are under a time constraint to obtain the tissue in optimal condition for research, full appreciation has to be given to the fact that misunderstandings may arise. A great deal of forbearance has to be shown by all individuals involved.
  • We are dedicated to realizing fully the thoughts and hopes of the individuals and families who contribute these precious gifts for the benefit of all.


The Butterfly

All of us here at the Brain and Tissue Bank at the University of Maryland have been inspired by Linda M. and her generous outreach to others to champion the gift of organ and tissue donation. Our use of the use of the butterfly on much of our printed material and displays was inspired by Linda. The butterfly is not only symbolic of life's changes, but it also represents the life-giving discoveries of scientists and researchers which are made possible by tissue donations.

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