-H. Ronald Zielke is a bank director. His institution collected $1.4 million in federal funds last year—but inside, you won’t find money. You’ll find human tissue.
Zielke’s bank is the Brain and Tissue Bank for Developmental Disorders, hosted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Each year it distributes some 3,000 tissue samples to researchers, collected from donors (average age: 20 to 40 years old) with neurological disorders ranging from autism to Down syndrome to Parkinson’s disease. The donors’ cellular material will aid researchers looking for treatments for such diseases.
According to the bank’s 234-page “Catalog of Available Tissue,” updated July 1, it also stores tissue from hundreds of fetuses, including those with chromosomal disorders, anencephaly (a brain malformation)—and many with no disorders at all, marked as “control” tissue and spanning ages 10 to 39 weeks.