Autism BrainNet Tissue Application
Autism BrainNet (ABN) promotes research using donated postmortem brain tissue to investigate the causes and potential treatments of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

The Autism BrainNet collection includes brains from individuals with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and neurotypical individuals which were collected by the Autism Tissue Program and new donations to Autism BrainNet since the launch of the program in 2014. Several of these specimens are now available for distribution upon request to approved researchers worldwide.

An overview of available specimens can be found here.

Who can apply to request tissue?
Researchers from all over the world who are interested in studying ASD and related neurodevelopmental disorders are eligible to apply. All applicants must hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree and have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school or other research facility. Applicants must have adequate funding to carry out the proposed research.

How do you request tissue for research?
All applicants must submit a short research proposal and demonstrate that they have adequate funding to carry out the proposed project using Autism BrainNet tissue. The form to submit a Tissue Request proposal can be found here.

Prior to finalizing their tissue request, and in order to streamline the request review process, researchers are strongly advised to contact to confirm that the parameters of their request are appropriate.

What is the application review process?
Applications for tissue are reviewed at least quarterly by the Scientific Review Committee. Applications are ranked according to their scientific merit. Approved applications are fulfilled by the Scientific Program Officer working with the Autism BrainNet Nodes. Approved investigators will communicate with the Scientific Program Officer to discuss specific tissue needs and plans for tissue shipment.

If an application is approved, what are the obligations of the researcher?
The recipient and the recipient’s institution are required to sign a Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) before any tissues are transferred. The Principal Investigator (PI) of an approved project is a university faculty member eligible to conduct NIH-funded research (or similar stature in a commercial enterprise) conducting scientific research who will oversee the research project and be responsible for the research activities and the return of data.

In the MTA, the tissue recipient:
• Stipulates their agreement to pay shipping costs
• Agrees to return all data to Autism BrainNet
• Agrees to publish results in the public domain with proper acknowledgments of Autism BrainNet

Are there costs associated with receiving tissue?
While there is no cost for tissue specimens, investigators are responsible for the cost of shipping.

How to acknowledge Autism BrainNet?
In all publications or presentations of work using data and/or tissue obtained from Autism BrainNet include the following:

Tissues and data were obtained from Autism BrainNet, a resource of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). Autism BrainNet also manages the Autism Tissue Program (ATP) collection, previously funded by Autism Speaks. We are grateful and indebted to the families who donated tissue for research purposes to Autism BrainNet and the ATP.

For more information
If you have questions about the tissue application process, email us at

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