Manchester Brain Bank

Providing human brain tissues to researchers.



The Manchester Brain Bank collects and supplies human brain tissues for research locally, nationally and internationally.

Established in 1986 by Professor David Mann, the Brain Bank has underpinned much of the basic and clinical research into the spectrum of frontotemporal dementia that Manchester has pioneered over 30 years.

The Brain Bank is now under the expert leadership of Professor Federico Roncaroli, Dr Anna Richardson and Dr Andy Robinson.

We work closely with many of the neuroscience and mental health research themes at The University of Manchester, including neuro oncology.

The Brain Bank is also part of the UK Brain Banks Network and uses dissection protocols established by the BrainNet Europe consortium.






research projects supported since 2009


samples distributed since 2011



Work with us

Researchers can apply for use of tissue from the Brain Bank.

The Brain Bank contains around 1,000 brains from patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and from healthy, but elderly, controls. Most brains have formalin-fixed and frozen tissue available for use in approved research.

Brains are recruited through tissue donation programmes including the Brains for Dementia Research initiative (jointly funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society), the Cerebral Function Unit at Salford Royal Hospital, and the Manchester and Newcastle Longitudinal Ageing Cohort.

Application process

You must complete and return a tissue request form.

You can download the tissue request form below:

The request will then be reviewed by our management committee who will assess the application on its scientific merit and ethical use of tissues.

If you have any questions, please contact the Manchester Brain Bank Manager, Dr Andrew Robinson.


Cost recovery

In line with a sustainable future for brain banking, the Medical Research Council and associated charities have introduced a cost recovery scheme for the provision of tissue. 

The tariff has been standardised and has been implemented across the UK Brain Banks Network.


Facilities for researchers

Alongside offering brain tissue for use in research, Manchester Brain Bank also has a range of facilities available for researchers to use.

If you would like to use any of the below, or have any questions about our facilities and services, please contact the Brain Bank Manager, Dr Andrew Robinson.


Microscopy suite

Our microscopy suite includes a state of the art Leica DMR2500 microscope with camera and associated software.

Charges for use start at £5 per hour.

Frozen tissue and cutting of non-Brain Bank material

Our Leica CM1860 Cryostat Microtome means we can now supply frozen sections of human brain tissue for use in research.

We are also offering the service of cutting non-Brain Bank material for a small fee.

JESS automated western blotting system

Manchester Brain Bank and Research and Innovation at Salford Royal Hospital own a JESS automated western blotting system by ProteinSimple.

This replaces the need for traditional western blotting (WB). Where traditional WB uses large amounts of reagents and can take up to three days to complete, an automated run using the JESS uses minimal reagents, takes only three hours to complete and provides quantitative, automatically normalised data for your protein of interest.

The JESS uses capillary electrophoresis rather than traditional SDS-PAGE and can use chemiluminescence or fluorescence detection.

Researchers from the Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology (DNEP) will receive a discount when using the JESS.

Jess automated western blotting system.

Tissue microarrays

We offer tissue microarrays (TMAs), which are constructed from multiple cores of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and are incredibly useful tools for characterising antibodies during immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence (IHC, IF) and other histological staining techniques.

Use of a TMA section allows staining across a range of tissue types while reducing the use of costly reagents.

Manchester Brain Bank can offer TMA blocks containing 15 4mm diameter cores.

Tissue microarray.

Highlight publications

Browse a selection of our publications.

Distinct and heterogeneous strains of amyloid beta with advanced Alzheimer's disease pathology in Down syndrome.

Read the full article on the Acta Neuropathologica Communications website.


Cohort age distributions.

Telephone interview for cognitive status scores associate with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease pathology at death.

Read the full article on the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease website.


Telephone interview chart.

Structure-based classification of tauopathies.

Read the full article on the Nature website.


Structure-based classification of tauopathies.

Effect of season of birth on brain epigenome-wide DNA methylation of older adults.
Superior frontal gyrus TOMM40-APOE locus DNA methylation in Alzheimer's disease.

Read the full article on the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports website.


Graph showing superior frontal gyrus TOMM40-APOE locus DNA methylation in Alzheimer's disease.

Early changes in visuospatial episodic memory can help distinguish primary age-related tauopathy from Alzheimer's.

Read the full article on the Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology website.


Table showing early changes in visuospatial episodic memory can help distinguish primary age-related tauopathy from Alzheimer's.

Engagement and outreach

We are committed to increasing knowledge and understanding of our research among patients and the general public, as well as internationally.

The Manchester Brain Bank team works closely with colleagues at Salford Royal Foundation Trust Research and Development to ensure that our work is disseminated to the wider community.

Updates on our local and international activities can be found on our blog.

You can also find updates on the work of one of our funders, Brains for Dementia Research (BDR), on the BDR website.


Contact us

Please get in touch if you have any questions about the Manchester Brain Bank.

Potential donors should contact:

Phillip Tinkler
Brain Bank Coordinator
Telephone: 07787002307

Other enquiries:

Dr Andrew Robinson
Brain Bank Manager

Professor Federico Roncaroli