South West Dementia Brain Bank and DNA Bank

The South West Dementia Brain Bank (SWDBB) is housed within the Learning & Research Building at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. It is licensed by the Human Tissue Authority and has approval from the South West - Central Bristol Research Ethics Committee to operate as a Research Tissue Bank. The SWDBB opened for the receipt brain donations for dementia research in the mid-1980s. In 2010, it became one of the recruitment centres and member brain banks in the ABBUK-funded Brains for Dementia Research (BDR) project. BDR involves prospective donors undertaking annual assessments and providing clinical information including details about their memory and thinking skills over time, as well as comorbidities and genetic information from the time they register until the time of their eventual donation. This process provides a rich amount of information on which to base future diagnosis but also for information that will be of great importance in informing future research studies. The SWDBB holds brain tissue from over 1200 people. Each donation has been characterised systematically and neuropathically diagnosed by an approved clinician according to international guidelines. Frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue and DNA are available from most of our donors, as is other information that has been systematically collected in relation to Aβ and tau pathology, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and small vessel disease severity, and tissue pH. For a subset of SWDBB donated brains we also have frozen samples of post-mortem ventricular cerebrospinal fluid. Additionally, we hold the medical records of our donors and can provide detailed, anonymised clinical data either via a data-only request or as part of an associated tissue request application.


  • Immunohistochemistry - scoring
  • Immunohistochemistry - staining
  • Nucleic acid extraction

Contact Information

0117 4147821

South West Dementia Brain Bank
University of Bristol
Level 1, Learning & Research
Southmead Hospital
BS10 5NB

Last Updated: 31/05/2022

Annual Statistics

Year Access Requests Received Access Requests Approved
Internal External Commercial Internal External Commercial
2015 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2016 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2017 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2018 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2019 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2020 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2021 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2022 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A