Brain Research – Tissue Repository

The Stanley Brain Collection is a widely used resource for researchers trying to find the causes of, and better treatments for, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. Five cohorts are available for study; the Neuropathology Consortium, Array Collection, New Collection, Depression Collection and the Parietal Collection.

Researchers agree to study all cases in the Collection that they request samples from. The samples are sent coded and detailed demographic information including data on estimated lifetime exposure to antipsychotics, brain pH, etc., will be made available to the researcher once the raw data have been submitted to SMRI. (Brain pH was determined using homogenized occipital cortex. RNA integrity and purity were determined with an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer).

These specimens were collected, with informed consent from next-of-kin, by participating medical examiners between September 1993 and June 2005. The specimens were all collected, processed, and stored in a standardized way.

Exclusion criteria for all specimens included:

  • significant structural brain pathology on postmortem examination by a qualified neuropathologist or by premortem imaging
  • history of significant focal neurological signs premortem
  • history of a CNS disease that could be expected to alter gene expression in a persistent way
  • documented IQ < 70
  • poor RNA quality
  • Additional exclusion criteria for unaffected controls included:
    • age less than 30 (thus, still in the period of maximum risk)
    • substance abuse within 1 year of death or significant alcohol-related changes in the liver

Diagnoses were made by two senior psychiatrists, using DSM-IV criteria and based on medical records and, when necessary, telephone interviews with family members. Diagnoses of unaffected controls were based on structured interviews by a senior psychiatrist with family member(s) to rule out Axis I diagnoses.


Alternative source of high-quality brain tissue:    University of MD Brain Bank

Neuropathology Consortium

60 cases - 15 each schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, & unaffected controls

Array Collection

105 cases - 35 each schizophrenia, bipolar disorder & unaffected controls

New Collection

57 cases - 19 each schizophrenia, bipolar disorder & unaffected controls

Depression Collection

36 cases - 12 each depression with psychosis, depression without psychosis & unaffected controls

Parietal Collection

48 cases - fixed inferior parietal sections from 24 each schizophrenia and controls

Request a collection

Contact us to request a collection.

Databases containing data derived from SMRI samples

Integrative Database

Microarray Database

This research is only possible because of the generosity of the families who agreed to donate the tissue of their deceased family member. All of us who have family members affected with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and all of us who do research on these diseases, are grateful to them.