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About Brain Bank for Autism

Research by Brain Bank for Autism


The Brain Bank for Autism & Related Developmental Research was set up in July 2008.

The UK Brain Bank is the first initiative outside the US to develop a similar programme to the Autism Tissue Program, which was set up there in 1998. The UK charity Autistica provides the funding to enable the Brain Bank for Autism to develop its work.

The Brain Bank is based at Oxford University, where it forms part of the Thomas Willis Oxford Brain Collection.

The programme has a free-phone helpline on 0800 089 0707 which you can call if you prefer to gain information that way.

The donation of post-mortem brain tissue for this research programme is of fundamental importance to our understanding of the causes of autism and to help us develop more effective diagnostic measures and interventions.  A separate brain bank for autism is necessary because we need to understand how, in autism, the brain develops over time and how the brain functions as a whole. However, our Brain Bank will promote close cooperation across all relevant brain banks in order to take the research forward.  The scope of the research stemming from the brain bank is broad and inclusive.  It includes research into the developmental conditions which are closely related to autism.

Our research focuses on;

  • people within the autism spectrum or their family members
  • people not affected by autism but who are affected by epilepsy
  • people who have another condition related to autism
  • individuals without autism or epilepsy.

Unravelling The Mysteries Of Autism

Research is needed to understand the causes and biological basis of autism. The developing brain is altered in autism but scientists do not know how or why. Such critical research is hindered by the scarcity of human brain tissue. By increasing the amount of brain tissue available for research, we increase scientists' ability to find answers -which could lead to the development of better interventions to improve the quality of life of those affected by autism.

Our urgent mission is to facilitate brain research and quicken the pace of discovery.

The Brain Bank for Autism staff

Olaf Ansorge

Director of the BBA

Dr Simon Wallace

Honorary Affiliate, Oxford Brain Bank

Tom Berney

Clinical Co-ordinator

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Register as a brain donor or register your support for our programme.

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Urgent brain tissue donations

To speak to our donations team please telephone us on

0800 089 0707