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Information for Researchers

The Maryland Brain Collection (MBC) is managed by the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center as a resource to promote brain tissue research in schizophrenia and related disorders. We encourage neuroscientists and psychiatrists to become collaborators in the use of this tissue.

The CNS tissue in the Maryland Brain Collection is collected in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland with an emphasis on the preservation of high-quality tissue samples and the acquisition of detailed clinical information on all of the cases.

If you are interested in obtaining postmortem tissue from the MBC, please submit an application to the MBC Steering Committee. In recognition that postmortem tissue from patients with mental illnesses and from normal controls is limited, the guidelines and stipulations below are intended to ensure optimal use of this resource and to establish mutually beneficial collaborations with MPRC scientists.

MBC Policy for the Use of Postmortem Tissue

  1. All requests are reviewed by the MBC Steering Committee (MBCSC). The disbursed tissue is exclusively for use of the applicant and may not be shared. The tissue may only be used in the approved experiments but may not be used in collaboration with commercial entities. Any additional use must have written MBC approval.
  2. Requests must be based on an explicitly stated scientific hypothesis. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the proposed science with a MBCSC member prior to submission.
  3. Requests for tissue to be used in grant applications must be received at least six weeks prior to the submission deadline. A budget for the MBC must be included in the application, and the MBCSC will assist in preparing the budget request. The MBC budget for funded grants that have had nonspecific budget reductions imposed must reflect the overall budget reduction (i.e., a 10% total budget reduction would mean a 10% MBC budget reduction).
  4. Requests may be declined for reasons not reflecting scientific merit.  
  5. The MBC disburses coded tissue. The code is broken upon receipt of the experimental results by the MBC. In the spirit of a true collaboration, data analysis is then performed using mutually agreed procedures. All data must be kept confidential and is not to be released to third parties without the explicit approval of all parties involved.
  6. The work involved in tissue acquisition and processing and ascertainment of clinical data is critical to the scientific projects and is a foundation for collaboration. The MBC participates actively in analysis and reporting of data. Authorship and acknowledgement issues need to be addressed in advance of presentations and submission of abstracts and manuscripts by the MBC Steering Committee.
  7. The MBC does not distribute human postmortem brain tissue for profit. However, a processing fee per sample applies and will be provided after the tissue request is reviewed by the MBC Steering Committee.  This fee is used to cover administrative costs, expenses associated with diagnosis, as well as tissue acquisition, storage and dissection.  
  8. The MBC screens tissue for certain infectious diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis B, prior to disbursement. However, all tissue must be handled using appropriate Universal Precautions and treated as if it were infectious
  9. All users of MBC tissue must secure IRB permission at their institution and provide it to the MBC prior to tissue disbursement. If necessary, the MBC will provide assistance to facilitate this process.
  10. All unused MBC tissue must be returned to the MBC at the end of the experiment. For follow-up experiments, see item #1 above.

These policies enable the MBC to meet obligations to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland, to protect established collaborations, to seek financial support, and to assure appropriate scientific involvement in selected projects.