The UTHealth Brain Collection for Research in Psychiatric Disorders
The UTHealth Brain Collection for Research in Psychiatric Disorders is a resource to help study brain disorders and create healthy changes for future generations. Brain tissue provides a crucial resource for understanding brain function and the biological causes of mental illness and other psychological problems such as substance abuse. The study of the human brain is often challenging and difficult due to limited access to brain tissue. The only way to obtain this tissue is through donations made by family members. Yet many people are not aware of the possibility of making a donation.
In close collaboration with the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston, brain tissue is obtained postmortem from individuals diagnosed with a mental illness as well as from individuals without any known psychiatric disorders, after the donation is made by family members. Blood is also obtained to perform genetic analysis, test for viral infection(s), and/or other substances pertinent to our research. Brain tissue is carefully collected and preserved, following specialized procedures that ensure preservation for future use in research. The UTHealth Brain Collection uses high-quality tissue in combination with extensive clinical information to drive evidence-based research. As part of the clinical information, we also perform a detailed ‘Psychological Autopsy’ which is an interview with the next-of-kin about aspects of the subject’s personality, well-being and mental health.
The generous donation of brain tissue is a true gift to future generations. We greatly appreciate those who consider donation.
Under the direction of Drs. Walss-Bass and Meyer, the UTHealth Brain Collection conducts research to investigate potential associations of personality and behavioral measures with molecular and biological information.
The UTHealth Brain Collection is happy to collaborate with other institutions and will approve requests for brain tissue from the collection. Approval is contingent on (but not limited to) the following criteria:
- The collaborating scientist is working with either Dr. Walss-Bass and/or Meyer on an appropriate scientific project.
- The collaborating scientist can demonstrate successful experiments/ assays in preliminary samples of tissue provided or has extensively published similar studies.
- The collaborative scientist is willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr. Walss-Bass and Dr. Meyer.