About Using our Brains Donor Program

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Welcome to 'Using our Brains' Donor Program.

Brain donation is when a person and their family decide to donate their brain for medical research following their death. Brain donation is fundamental to advancing the understanding of diseases that affect the brain, and also require people without brain diseases to participate for comparison.

The 'Using our Brains' (UoB) Donor Program is located at the NSW Tissue Resource Centre, an Australian brain bank that aims to collect, store, characterize and provide tissue to both national and international researchers studying different disorders of the brain like alcohol-related brain damage and mental illness, specifically schizophrenia.

The UoB was established in 2002 as a pre mortem consent program inviting members of the community to donate their brain to neuroscience research after they die. The aim of this donor program is to encourage those who are medically healthy to donate. Healthy control tissue is an important resource for researchers to compare brains from those affected with specific disorders. There are many new scientific techniques that allow us to use these tissues to learn about disease processes, and how we can treat or prevent them.

Our collections focus on controls, alcohol-related brain damage and mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. As of November 2010, the Gift of Hope brain donor program, which focused on schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, has been incorporated into UoB.

The UoB has ethics approval from the Sydney Local Health Network and The University of Sydney.