Tissue Application

Research using postmortem brain tissue can lead the way to a better understanding of the biological causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental conditions, and to identify targets for the development of new and effective treatments.

Tissue from the Autism BrainNet collection is available to qualified researchers worldwide upon request.

Please note that tissue is not screened for human pathogens and should be handled using universal precautions.

An overview of available specimens can be found here. Additional information about the tissue and phenotypic information about the donors is available through SFARI Base, the clearinghouse for autism and autism-related research data and biospecimens supported by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).

How do you request tissue and data from Autism BrainNet?
All requests to use brain tissue samples from Autism BrainNet as well as related phenotypic and genetic data must be submitted through SFARI Base. Instructions on how to log in to SFARI Base and request access to resources can be found here.

All applicants must demonstrate that they have adequate funding to carry out the proposed project using Autism BrainNet tissue.

Who can apply to request tissue?
Researchers from all over the world who are interested in studying autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions are eligible to apply.

The Principal Investigator (PI) of an approved project is a university faculty member eligible to conduct National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research (or similar stature in a commercial enterprise) who will oversee the research project and be responsible for the research activities and the return of data.

All applicants must:

  • Hold a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent degree
  • Have a faculty position or the equivalent at a college, university, medical school or other research facility
  • Have adequate funding to carry out the proposed research

What is the application review process?
Applications for tissue are reviewed at least quarterly by the Scientific Review Committee and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) and ranked according to their scientific merit and adherence to the mission of Autism BrainNet. Approved applications will be fulfilled by the Autism BrainNet nodes. Approved investigators can communicate their specific tissue and shipment specifications by emailing [email protected].

If an application is approved, what are the obligations of the researcher?
Among the stipulations in the RDA are the agreement to return all data to Autism BrainNet and to publish results in the public domain with proper acknowledgments of Autism BrainNet.

How do I acknowledge Autism BrainNet?
All publications and presentations of work using tissue and data obtained from Autism BrainNet should 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.

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

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