IMpact/Achievements So Far

Years of 24/7 Service

Cases with Formalin Fixed Brain Tissues

Cadaver Heart Homografts

Research Projects


Projects & Dissertations


CJD Registry

CJD registry was set up by the Brain Bank to record all cases of CJD (human counter part of Mad Cow Disease) throughout the country and thus acquire epidemiological data about this rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease. Till date the registry has recorded 105 cases with clinical details over the past 40 years. A diagnostic biomarker, the presence of 14-3-3 protein in CSF has been indigenously developed by the Dept of Neurochemistry in collaboration with Brain Bank for the first time in the country. This is offered free as a diagnostic test and has been submitted for accreditation by international body.

Cyt P450 & FMO Demonstrated

In the field of neurochemistry, for the first time in world literature, it was demonstrated that major drug metabolizing enzymes such as Cytochrome P450 and flavin monooxygenases (FMO) could be found in human brain tissues.

This was contrary to the general impression that most of the xenobiotic metabolism takes place in the liver. The brain microsomal and mitochondrial Cyt P450 were found to be capable of metabolizing a variety of xenobiotics while brain FMO efficiently metabolises a number of psychoactive drugs.

This has important implications on therapeutic efficacy and bioavailability of psychoactive drugs used in treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Subsequently different isoforms of Cyt P450 was recognized in the human brain in alcoholics and epileptics treated with phenobarbitone.

Neuro Degenerative Diseases

In the field of neurodegeneration, important progress was made in the understanding of the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. In a study using a large number of midbrains at different ages from the Britain Bank, it was found that the absolute number of melanised nigral neurons is nearly 40% lower than that found in the West and there is no significant loss of neurons with increase in age. The findings disputed the general belief that low numbers of melanised dopaminergic neurons leads to the evolution of Parkinson’s disease. These findings therefore suggest that in Indians an alternative protective mechanism exists that prevents the loss of nigral neurons with age, which explains the low prevalence of the disease in our country.


In the field of neurogenetics, significant results were obtained in a study of the genetics of Lafora Body disease, a form of progressive myoclonic epilepsy common in South Indians. In a collaborative study, a novel gene responsible for the disease (Laforin) was discovered and localized to Chromosome 6q24. This study utilized DNA samples stored in the Brain Bank from confirmed cases of Lafora body disease. Many more similar important studies have been carried out during the past 8yrs justifying the establishment of the National Facility.

HIV/AIDS Tissue and fluid Bank

A large tissue and fluid bank of HIV/AIDS tissues has been established. This has proved to be an invaluable source for developing indigenous diagnostic kits for HIV and hepatitis B. Using samples from the HIV Bank, it was established that the most prevalent subtype causing AIDS in the Indian subcontinent was subtype C, thus generating epidemiological data that has been lacking for a long time. The tat and envelope sequences generated from this genetic study is deposited in the GeneBank, USA. A novel PCR test for HIV clade subtyping has been developed and validated using the confirmed HIV/AIDS samples by the same group of scientists from JNCASR, Bangalore.

Fluid Bank

There is a great demand for CSF/Serum samples from the Fluid Bank that has proved to be a valuable source of research material. These samples collected from well characterized cases of neuroinfectious, neurdegenerative, cerebrovascular disorders and normal controls from head injury cases serve as valuable source for studies into the pathobiology of disease processes or as controls for developing diagnostic sets for various infection of the CNS.

Cadaver Heart Homograft Valve for transplantation

For the past 15 years, Human Brain Bank has been collecting Human Cadaver Hearts immediately at autopsy with informed consent of the close relatives,  to utilize aortic and pulmonary arteries for homograft transplantation. Till date 1110 homografts have been collected and utilized by the cardiac surgeons in the city of Bengaluru and other centres in Karnataka for transplantation as a therapeutic procedure greatly benefitting patients by providing cost effective alternative to bioprosthetic valves. The valves are provided free of cost to patients.

Neurobiochemical Markers

Again for the first time the presence of functional thiol transferase activity was demonstrated in the human brain.

Similarly, for the first time the cellular localization and topographic distribution of p67 (MUNC 18), a 67kDa protein that co-purifies with CDK5 concerned with cell division and differentiation was described.

Simultaneously p67 was also detected in tumors of neuronal/neuroglial lineage.


Realizing the valuable material archived, ICMR has funded establishment of a Centre for Advanced Research For Innovation In Mental Health And Neurosciences – Manpower Development and Translational Research at NIMHANS.  This facility was supported by ICMR / Dept of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India. The mission statement of this project is “to be a leader in the field of mental health and neuroscience and evolve state of the art technology and innovation and translational research and develop critical mass of manpower to meet national needs by scientific collaboration and co-operation”

The mandate has been

  • to develop Neuroscience Educational Material for popularizing neuroscience under the aegis of Human Brain Bank and
  • promote cadaver organ donation as an act of philanthropy and national priority.

Histological Atlas of Common CNS Infections

In keeping with the mandate of developing neuroscience education material, a unique ‘Histological Atlas of the Common Infections of the CNS’ along with a set of 48 histological slides depicting the pathological features and a CD containing the Text and Photographs included in the Atlas, has been prepared. During the period 53 histological slide sets and more than 320 booklets with CD are distributed among the medical colleges teaching postgraduate students of pathology, microbiology and neurology.

ScientifIc Posters

In addition Human Brain Bank has prepared 67 scientific posters (3 ft X 3ft, 2.5ft X 2.5ft etc) as a public awareness imitative and these are being used regularly in local exhibitions organised by schools and colleges and Indian Epilepsy Association.

Brain Awareness Week

Brain awareness week was conducted by NIMHANS in March 2000; at Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum Bangalore to educate and enhance the public awareness about the structure and function of Human Brain- Neuroscience.  A week long exhibition of Human Brain specimens in Health and diseases and many scientific posters depicting about the brain disease was organized. Nearly 10,000 school/college students and general public visited the exhibition. A guided tour of the exhibited specimens was conducted explaining the details by the staff of Human Brain Bank and the Research faculty.

On the last day Public lecture was given by Director, NIMHANS to encourage the students to study Neuroscience and enhance the awareness. H’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka presided over the function.