ICF: UK Brain BioLink (UK Brain Biology Resource Link)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Clinical Neurosciences


Brain BioLink is an initiative that will connect NHS patients and participants in longitudinal research projects with researchers that study the composition and function of nervous system tissue. The purpose of Brain BioLink is to aid understanding of what participation in tissue-based research entails, and allow volunteers to keep track of their choices and learn about neurosciences research. Further, Brain BioLink will allow researchers to share tissue samples and pool resources. This will ensure valuable samples get maximum use for maximum scientific benefit. Brain BioLink will also test new ways of analysing tissue samples for diagnostics and quality control. The aim of Brain BioLink is to improve UK neuroscience research for individual and societal benefit

Technical Summary

Brain BioLink will develop programmes in

1 Consent, Ethics and Patient and Public Involvement

A flexible national digital dynamic consent platform suitable for any nervous tissue donor
An ethical and legal framework for live human nervous tissue research conducted on intact brain slices and their derivatives, including material derived from organ donors

1 New Cohorts and Biological Resources for Neuroscience Research

Identification and recruitment of cohorts not yet involved in biosample-based neuroscience research: e.g., Twins UK, UK Organ Donation and Transplantation
Enhancement of cohorts already established to obtain living nervous system tissue from surgical procedures: Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX
Resource pooling, characterisation and open-access sharing of biosamples and their derivatives: Autoimmune Encephalopathies, OPDC Discovery, BioMox

3 Tissue Preservation, Quality Control, Analysis and Distribution

Innovative tissue preservation methods for the establishment and distribution of live nervous system tissue
Comparative analysis and quality control of biopsy, organ transplant and rapid post-mortem tissues using mass spectrometry
Functional assays of sample derivatives such as autoantibodies and seed-amplified fibrils using live human tissue slices in a distributed network of centres of excellence

4 Data Integration, Visualisation and Open Access
A scalable digital interface for data visualisation and sharing
A an AI-assisted classifier for microscopic neuropathology
A linked data access, sample request, peer review and sample tracking platform


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