Autism BrainNet tissue requests can now be made through SFARI Base

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Researchers interested in requesting brain tissue from Autism BrainNet can now submit their tissue request applications through SFARI Base, SFARI’s clearinghouse for autism and autism-related research data and biospecimens from SFARI collections, which include the Simons Simplex Collection, Simons Searchlight, Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge (SPARK) and the Autism Inpatient Collection. The integration of Autism BrainNet in SFARI Base will help streamline the tissue application process. In cases when donors had been participants in other Simons Collections studies, researchers will be able to request data from both studies.

Researchers from around the world who study autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions are eligible to apply to use Autism BrainNet brain tissue. Before submitting a brain tissue request, researchers can browse available specimens in the Autism BrainNet collection through the tissue catalogue (additional information about the specimens is available to approved researchers). Instructions on how to log in to SFARI Base and request access to resources can be found here. More details on the Autism BrainNet tissue application process and prerequisites for applications can be found here.

Applications for brain tissue are reviewed at least quarterly by the Autism BrainNet Scientific Review Committee and SFARI for scientific merit and adherence to the mission of Autism BrainNet. Brain tissue is provided at no cost to the researchers, though researchers are responsible for the tissue shipping costs.

“Incorporating Autism BrainNet into SFARI Base is a step towards simplifying the tissue request process,” said Marta Benedetti, Autism BrainNet managing director and SFARI senior scientist. “We are pleased to facilitate the work of the autism scientific community by providing researchers with brain tissue, a unique and valuable resource, that is key to advancing autism science.”

A collaborative network of scientific institutions, Autism BrainNet collects, stores and distributes brain tissue for research on autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions1. To date, the Autism BrainNet collection consists of 229 brains, including:

  • 109 brains from 71 individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of autism and 38 individuals whose diagnosis is currently under review;
  • 8 brains from individuals whose diagnosis of ASD could not be confirmed;
  • 17 brains from individuals with other related neurodevelopmental conditions but without a diagnosis of autism;
  • 89 brains from individuals with no known psychiatric or neurological conditions;
  • 4 brains from individuals with epilepsy without ASD diagnosis.

More information about Autism BrainNet can be found here.


1.Anderson M.P. et al. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 145, 494-501 (2021) PubMed
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