The banks store post-mortem brain and central nervous system (CNS) tissue donated by the public for diagnosis and research into disorders.  Advances in understanding genetics and many of the molecules that define brain function mean that more and more research questions can be answered from human brain tissue.

The UK Brain Banks Network supplies tissue samples to academic and industry researchers in the UK and abroad. All brain banks in the Network have approval to provide tissue samples to research projects and pilot studies. Approval is based on scientific merit and takes into account ethical issues (if peer review and ethics approval has not yet been obtained).

The banks work together to agree common standards of operation and to harmonise protocols for consent, tissue handling and storage, quality indicators and the application process for access to tissue samples.

The Network, directed by Professor Colin Smith, is overseen by a Steering Committee  and is managed by a Network Management Group.