Victorian Brain Bank

The Victorian Brain Bank (VBB) is a research resource facility that provides researchers, both in Australia and internationally, with post-mortem human brain tissue and related samples to facilitate research into various brain and mind conditions.

For over 20 years the VBB has collected brains from generous donors, forming a collection that spans most disease areas. This collection supports research that will hopefully lead to improvements in diagnosis, the development of early diagnostic tests and effective treatments.

The Victorian Brain Bank is no longer able to accept brain and spinal cord registration. Fortunately, the number of brains and spinal cords in most of the disease categories, within the collection, are large enough to support ongoing research for many years. Rare case donations can be discussed at a one-to-one level with Professor Catriona McLean and Fairlie Hinton.

Histological slide of brain tissue using purple and blue dye


The VBB are the custodians of a collection of brains and related samples that have been donated by individuals who have had neurodegenerative and movement conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Motor neurone disease, Lewy body disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The collection also contains samples from people who experienced psychiatric conditions including mood disorders, depression and schizophrenia, and samples from those who suffered neurotrauma.

Housed within the collection are also normal ‘control’ samples – donated from individuals with no history of brain or psychiatric conditions, or trauma.

Access the VBB

The VBB has optimised the collection, characterisation and storage of brain tissue and related samples, enabling researchers to conduct experiments using the tissue in the areas of (but not limited to); genomic, neuroanatomical, neuropathological, neuropharmacological and neurochemical studies.

Apply directly to the VBB

Download the Victorian Brain Bank Guidelines for Researchers, (PDF) and complete the following:

  1. Contact the VBB coordinator to discuss tissue requirements and availability. If feasible, the researcher will be made aware of the service fee for accessing tissue before completing a formal application.
  2. Before submitting the completed application, applicants must obtain appropriate Human Research Ethics approval for the specified scientific project from their host institution.
  3. Wait for your application to be reviewed with approval based upon researchers’ expertise and track record, the merit of the research plan and availability of tissues.

Neuropathological service

Professor Catriona McLean has over 30 years’ experience in brain banking and is the diagnostic neuropathologist for all the cases referred to the VBB for diagnosis and research.

The neuropathology diagnostic service:

  • is relied on for validating research studies using emerging technologies such as neuroimaging, neurogenomics and neuroproteomics
  • confirms a pre-mortem clinical diagnosis, and increases clinicians’ awareness and understanding of atypical presentations of certain brain diseases
  • precludes an organic basis for psychiatric illness that confounds successful diagnostic classification of these disorders
  • confirms a diagnosis for donor families, in whom neurological disease may have hereditary or familial association and may be at risk of developing the disease
  • generates pathological description of brain diseases and advances knowledge of some brain pathologies, thus providing a powerful tool for education and research
  • generates important health statistics
  • provides a valuable training opportunity for future neuropathologists and the neuroscience community.
Microscopic image using blue dye of brain cells from histology lab


The VBB is supported in part by The Florey, Parkinson’s Victoria, MND Victoria, FightMND, and Ian and Maria Cootes.

The VBB would like to acknowledge the generosity shown by the donor and donor families in donating tissue to the bank. It is an act of great foresight and kindness to give at a time of loss, so that others may be helped in the future. The clinicians and researchers who benefit from these donations are very grateful to the donors and their families.


T+61 3 8344 1900
F +61 3 9349 5105
E [email protected]

The Florey
30 Royal Parade
Parkville, Victoria 3053

Facility staff

Ms Fairlie Hinton – VBB Coordinator
Professor Catriona McLean AO, Bsc, MBBS, FRCPA, MD, FFSc (RCPA), FAHMS – Brain Bank Head