The future of brain banking in Australia: an integrated brain and body biolibrary

Amanda Rush and Greg T Sutherland
Med J Aust 2021; 214 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51049
Published online: 17 May 2021

A virtual brain bank could maximise the potential of brain donation by extending the core physical bank to include existing repositories of clinical tissues and data

Brain banking, whereby post mortem brains are harvested, processed, stored and made available to facilitate health and medical research, provides scientists with an unparalleled resource for macroscopic, microscopic and molecular investigations into many brain conditions. The human brain is seen as the final frontier of scientific research, with many cognitive processes and neurological diseases exclusively manifesting in humans. This uniqueness has been postulated as an explanation for why many brain disease drug leads do not progress past the acknowledged “valley of death” whereby success in animals is not translated to human clinical trials.1 For many brain researchers, human post mortem tissue is therefore preferred or essential for their investigations.

  • Amanda Rush1
  • Greg T Sutherland2

  • 1 NSW Health Statewide Biobank, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW



Funding to support this research was provided by the NSW Ministry of Health (PhD Program; Amanda Rush), and the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney (Sydney Research Accelerator Fellowship; Greg Sutherland). Publication of the study results was not contingent on the sponsors’ approval or censorship of the manuscript. The contents of the published material are solely the responsibility of the individual authors and do not reflect the views of NSW Health. The authors acknowledge the staff of the NSW Brain Tissue Resource Centre and the NSW Health Statewide Biobank for their helpful discussions.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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