Who We Are

We exist to increase brain donation to advance science, leading to the treatment and cure of neurological, neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. We’re here to increase awareness for and simplify the process of brain donation.

Brain Graphic
Gene dancing black and white
Gene on bench with wife
Gene dancing color
Young Gene
Gene at party
Gene family photo

There is no better way to understand the circuitry & processes underlying every thought & action than to study the brain itself.

The NeuroBioBank of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had only recently been developed, and it wasn’t widely known that many kinds of brains were urgently needed for scientific research. When Gene’s family learned of the NeuroBioBank’s work to make available high-quality, well-characterized brain tissue for scientific study, the Brain Donor Project was born to support its efforts.

Recent advances in genomic technologies have paved the way for rapid progress in defining genetic underpinnings of human disorders. These breakthroughs for complex brain disorders require high quality post-mortem brain tissue, and thus the need for these tissues has greatly intensified. That’s why the NIH created the NeuroBioBank, which established a new framework for collecting, processing, storing and distributing human brain tissue—to advance the science of brain disease.

The Brain That Started it All

One man’s gift inspired the Brain Donor Project—and launched efforts to increase brain donation for research. The Brain Donor Project is the legacy of Gene Armentrout, who died in March 2015, after suffering from Lewy Bodies Dementia. Gene had planned to donate his body for anatomical study when he died, and when his family learned that Gene’s brain would be valuable for LBD research, they knew he was meant to be a brain donor.

Gene with video camera and grandkids
Gene on boat
Gene and daughter at Christmas
This patterned image is an actual histology image of the donated brain of Gene Armentrout.

The image is enhanced to highlight the protein deposits that are the hallmark of Lewy Bodies Dementia.

About The Organization

The Brain Donor Project was established in April 2016 as non-profit corporation and was granted tax-exempt status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) on May 20, 2016. It is governed by a Board of Directors, which includes representation from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which oversee the NeuroBioBank of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Critical scientific research is being advanced by using donated brain tissue

Science urgently needs donated brain tissue