About the Georgetown University Brain Bank

(from Georgetown University Brain Bank website)

GBB Mission Statement

The Georgetown Brain Bank (GBB) provides an integrated educational, clinical, and experimental resource to the Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Health neuroscience community and their patients and families. They provide detailed neuropathological evaluation as well as stewardship of tissue/biofluid procurement, storage, and distribution.


Medical autopsy remains the “gold standard” for diagnosing and classifying neurological diseases. Autopsies also allow (when permitted) collection of tissues and biofluids for research into the pathology of specific diseases. However, reimbursement for autopsies by the federal government, even at academic medical centers, is very limited. As a result, autopsy rates have dramatically decreased in recent years. This is occurring at a time when small and large scale clinical trials for new neurotherapeutics desperately need to have established diagnoses during studies and confirmed upon autopsy and when the genetics of diseases need to be correlated with pathological and clinical findings.

The Georgetown Brain Bank (GBB) was established in late 2011 to serve three key constituents of their academic medical center: patients and clinicians, trainees/students, and researchers.

  1. Families and the clinical teams caring for our patients with neurological diseases will benefit from a careful neuropathological examination to provide accurate diagnoses and context to patients’ illness and valuable information for descendants.
  2. Medical students, neuroscience graduate students, and house staff will learn about neurological diseases from educational sessions on neuropathology.
  3. The research community will have access to well-characterized tissues/fluids to allow for translational research projects and collaborative neuropathologists to assist them. Clinical researchers will be able to confirm diagnoses crucial to understanding results of their trials.