UCL Institute of Neurology


Queen Square Brain Bank



Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders

Directors: Professor Tom Warner and Professor Janice Holton

About the Queen Square Brain Bank

The Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders (QSBB) holds a unique archive of brains and tissue donated by individuals with neurodegenerative disease and neurologically normal controls. It specialises in parkinsonian movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy and holds the national collection of brains donated by individuals with progressive supranuclear palsy. The collection has been developed to include donated brains from prospectively studied people with familial dementias, in collaboration with the Dementia Research Group at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.  The QSBB also banks brains donated by people with dystonia.

The team at QSBB aim to provide the highest-possible quality of brain tissue for neuropathological studies and for scientific research in the UK and worldwide. The large collection of tissue is supported by good clinical documentation and all material is fully evaluated by QSBB’s neuropathologists. Protocols for banking and research have ethics committee approval and tissue is stored under a licence from the Human Tissue Authority (Licence No 12198). Tissue is donated from registered prospective donors and, along with medical records, is stored and released in accordance with the GDPR.

Please visit our donor scheme site for information about joining the tissue donor scheme.

The QSBB is supported by UCL Institute of Neurology, Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, and the Medical Research Council, and is a member of the MRC UK Brain Banks Network.

QSBB depends entirely on charitable benefactions for its survival. Every donation, no matter how large or small is greatly appreciated by the team at the QSBB.

Request for Tissue

The QSBB holds a large archive of brain tissue, sufficient to support statistically valid case-control studies. Our material is stored as formalin-fixed/wax embedded blocks and the majority of cases also have flash frozen samples. Flash-frozen material has excellent histological preservation and is suitable for in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Tissue can be provided as slide-mounted sections (paraffin embedded or frozen) or as small frozen blocks for neurochemistry or DNA and RNA analysis. Case controls are matched for age, sex and post-mortem delay and are supplied blind. Clinical data relating to the tissue supplied is made available on an anonymised basis.

Tissue requests from within the UK will be covered by the QSBB ethics approval. Requestors from outside the UK must provide evidence of approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee (or equivalent) of their parent institution. If ethical approval is not required by the parent institution we will require confirmation of this.

The QSBB Tissue Request Committee reviews all tissue requests, (see guidelines) with approval based upon the researcher’s expertise, track record and the merit of the research plan. If necessary, additional information may be sought from the researchers. After approval of a tissue request, the researcher and the researcher’s institution must agree to and sign a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) prior to the supply of tissue. MTA’s are specific to the supplying facility.

The Human Tissue Act prohibits trade in human tissues for profit. To offset the considerable expenditure by the QSBB for the procurement of tissue, including operation costs associated with donor recruitment, tissue collection, processing, diagnosis, storage, data management and quality assurance, some cost recovery is necessary.

Researchers are invited to discuss with the QSBB, the service fee for access for their project prior to submission of their tissue application. Access rates for services are as recommended by the Medical Research Council UK Brain Banks Network.

For further information about requesting tissue for research, including information to consider before submitting a tissue request please contact:

Linda Parsons, Laboratory Manager

Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorders
UCL Institute of Neurology
1 Wakefield Street
London WC1N 1PJ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4024
Fax: +44 (0)20 7278 4993
Email: l.parsons@ucl.ac.uk