Tissue & Cell Collections

Brain Tissue Resources

Harvard Brain Bank Tissue Resource Center

Watch this video from the HBTRC

The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (HBTRC) has fresh frozen and formalin fixed tissues of brain samples from over 90 Rett brains banked by Rettsyndrome.org.

The HBTRC can provide researchers with: frozen or fixed brain samples, quality control measures, demographic information, and neuropathology.

Please submit any tissues requests through the NIH NeuroBioBank portal at https://neurobiobank.nih/gov/

All tissue requests for samples from Rett syndrome brain donors will be sent to Rettsyndrome.org for approval.

Contacts at HBTRC:
Sabina Berretta, MD, Scientific Director: s.beretta@mclean.harvard.edu
Wilson TS Woo, MD, PhD, Medical Director: wwoo@mclean.harvard.edu

Contacts at Rettsyndrome.org:
Steven Kaminsky, PhD, Chief Science Officer: skaminsky@rettsyndrome.org
Janice Ascano, PhD, Manager of Grants & Research: jascano@rettsyndrome.org



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The NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders at the University of Maryland, Baltimoreis a human tissue repository that was established to advance the research of developmental disorders. The Bank systematically collects, stores, and distributes brain and other tissues for research dedicated to the improved understanding, care and treatment of individuals with developmental disorders.

The recipients of tissue and the NICHD Brain and Tissue Bank are required to sign a Material Transfer Agreement before any tissue are transferred. All requests for tissue are to be in writing to the Bank.

The Bank has extensive experience in arranging for the rapid retrieval of tissue upon the death of individuals who die while at home, in hospitals or hospice care. As a special service, the Bank is able to assist investigators who are working with patients who intend to donate tissues at the time of their death. A registry for donors has also been established.

The central office is located at the University of Maryland Baltimore and its collaborative site is at the University of Miami .

Cell Collections

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Coriell Cell Repository catalogs blood and tissue samples and makes them available to investigators worldwide. Rettsyndrome.org seeks to expand the RTT blood/tissue collection at Coriell.

Coriell presents "How to Submit Samples/Benefits of Submitting Samples" – a YouTube video targeted to our Rett researcher community. 

Click here for information about Donating to the NIGMS Repository. 

Contact Tara Schmidlen, MS CGC at: tschmidl@coriell.org or 856-757-4822.

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National Human Neural Stem Cell Resource (NHNSCR) drives national research in the field of neural stem cells by providing a reliable resource for these cells to investigators nationwide. 

Neural stem cells in the Resource are acquired from several central nervous system sources and represent controls and genetic mutations. This is of utmost importance as the field of neural stem cells has applicability to such diverse areas as:

  1. increasing our understanding of the basic mechanisms involved in the development of the nervous system from a few cells to the extremely complex final product that is the human brain;
  2. increasing our understanding of the effects of genetic disease on the structure and function of the nervous system;
  3. providing tools by which new drugs that can be used to treat diseases of the nervous system can be designed; and
  4. providing a cell population that could potentially be used to treat such nervous system diseases as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, seizure disorders, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and others that traditionally have been thought to be untreatable to any significant extent.

NHNSCR provides to the research community neural stem cells harvested from the post-natal, post-mortem, human brain.

The Resource encourages investigators to study these cells as potential transplantable tissue for the repair of injury such as that sustained during traumatic brain injury or stroke, for the repair of pathological processes such as those seen in the neurogenetic diseases Hurler’s disease or Leigh's disease, or for repair of neurodegenerative processes such those seen in Parkinson's or Alzheimer Diseases.

In addition, the cells should be used for the detailed study of mechanisms of neural differentiation and transdifferentiation and the genetic and environmental signals that direct the specialization of the cells into particular cell types.

Dr. Philip Schwartz , Director of the NHNSCR, welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with investigators from other institutions. The current focus of his research is on the banking and characterization of neural stem cells harvested from postmortem human brain, particularly those from children and adults with neurogenetic disease. Please contact him for more information or contact the Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s 24-hour CHOC line: 714-997-3000. 

Rettsyndrome.org encourages investigators to share reagents. If you have an animal model, expression plasmid, antibodies, permanent cell lines, assay or other reagent you would like to make available to the Rett scientific community please contact Janice Ascano, PhD, Manager of Grants & Research.