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The Maritime Brain Tissue Bank collects and archives donated tissue from individuals who may have had a neurodegenerative disease, traumatic brain injury or were neurologically normal. Following an application and review process, we make this tissue available to researchers studying these diseases. 

  1. Acknowledgements: Thank you for taking the time to help families with the donation process. Tissue donation for neurodegenerative disease research is a valuable source of information. Your effort helps make this happen. If the opportunity arises, please thank families for their very generous donation on our behalf. 

  2. Confidentiality: All identifying information is kept strictly confidential at the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank. All tissue donations are given a Maritime Brain Tissue Bank code. Anonymized information provided to researchers is linked to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank code and cannot be traced back to the donor or their family.

  3. Research Impact: Currently, there are no cures for neurodegenerative diseases. Treatments and diagnostic methods are also very limited. Examining human brain tissue will play a crucial role in advancing research in this field. Hopefully, these advances will help the daily lives of your patients. 

  4. Eligibility:

    • Donations we are unable to accept: Due to the possible risks involved, the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank is unable to accept donations from individuals who have been diagnosed with communicable diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). We apologize to families that we are unable to accept these donations.

    • Location: The MBTB receives donations from across Canada.​

requirements for donation

  1. Medical Brain Autopsy: Diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases requires that an autopsy be completed. If a family’s request for a medical brain autopsy is approved, the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank can accept a brain tissue donation. The brain autopsy is a medical procedure that can be arranged through a physician or the Pathology Department at the closest regional hospital. Instructions on how to complete the autopsy consent form should be obtained from the hospital. To authorize the brain tissue donation for research, the family must add an additional handwritten statement such as “with request for donation to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank” to this form. The next-of-kin must then sign this statement and the completed form. A physician must approve the medical brain autopsy request. 
  2. Neuropathological Examination: Once the autopsy is complete, a neuropathologist at the hospital will need to examine part of the brain to confirm the diagnosis. This is required of all brain tissues donated to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank.  
  3. Neuropathology Report: Once complete, the neuropathology report will be sent to the requesting physician. Families can make an appointment with them to discuss the findings of the autopsy. A copy of the report must also be sent to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank. Please use the address provided in the “Shipping Tissue” section. 
  4. Tissue Preservation: We ask hospitals to use their own standardized protocols for tissue preservation as they would for other autopsy tissues. However, due to the logistics of transporting fresh frozen tissue, formalin fixation is the preferred method. Typically, tissue is immersion fixed for 1-2 weeks in 10% buffered formalin and then bisected. One hemisphere can be used for neuropathological diagnosis while the other half can be donated for research.  

  5. Documentation: Please include the following information when sending tissue donations to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank:
    • Donor’s name

    • Autopsy number

    • Healthcare number

    • Sex

    • Age

    • Date of birth

    • Date and time of death

    • Weight

    • Body length

    • Nutritional status

    • Clinical diagnosis

    • Duration of dementia (if present)

    • Clinical history

    • Cause of death

    • Date and time autopsy was completed

    • Brain weight

  6. Shipping Tissue: Following fixation, excess formalin should be poured off, the tissue wrapped in gauze and sealed in vacuum bags or in a watertight container. Please follow all Transport Canada biosafety regulations when sending tissue.

  7. Please inform Maritime Brain Tissue Bank staff at and that a brain tissue donation is being couriered and provide tracking information. Tissue donations should be sent to:

Maritime Brain Tissue Bank

Department of Medical Neuroscience

Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building , Room 12D

5850 College Street,

Halifax, NS

B3H 4R2


For any questions, please see our FAQs page. If any questions remain, please do not hesitate to call us at 902-494-4130 or email at or Please note, we are only available during regular business hours from Monday to Friday.

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