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Image: Microscope that was connected with camera at eyepiece into computer, background of laboratory

Manchester Brain Bank


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.



Work with us

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

Hear about the samples we hold at the Brain Bank, and find out more about what we do.

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.


You must complete and return a tissue request form.

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 (

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 is being 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

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.

Tissue microarrays

Tissue microarray

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.

Engagement and outreach

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

Local reach

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.

Members of the public also recently visited the Manchester Brain Bank as part of an Alzheimer’s Society fundraiser’s visit to find out more about the work we do.

Global reach

We have also recently formed close ties with the University of Zambia.

Dr Peter Julius, Head of Pathology and Microbiology, visited Manchester Brain Bank in November 2018 to gain valuable experience in the pathology of neurodegenerative disease.

He plans to set up a dedicated neuropathology unit – the first in the country – and maintain an active collaboration with Manchester Brain Bank.

South Korean television channel KBS visited the Brain Bank in August 2019. They conducted an interview with Professor Federico Roncaroli to include in a programme about dementia, aired in September 2019. It is hoped that this programme will increase the visibility of Brain Banking in East Asia, and hopefully result in Korean researchers applying for tissue from the Manchester Brain Bank.


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

Dr Peter Julius, Head of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Zambia with Manchester Brain Bank staff

(Left to right: Professor Federico Roncaroli, Dr Andy Robinson, Yvonne Davidson, Dr Peter Julius, Ricky Williams)

Researchers in lab

Contact us

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

Potential donors please contact:

Phillip Tinkler
Brain Bank Coordinator
Telephone: 07787002307


Other enquiries:

Dr Andrew Robinson
Brain Bank Manager

Professor Federico Roncaroli