BEARS Program | UC Davis MIND Institute

BEARS Program

Brain Endowment for Autism Research Sciences

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Brain Endowment for Autism Research Sciences

Brain Endowment for Autism Research Sciences (BEARS) Program

The MIND Institute Brain Endowment for Autism Research Sciences (BEARS) Program was formed to provide scientists worldwide with the valuable gift of brain tissue and accelerate the development of effective treatments and prevention options for individuals living with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

To make a significant impact, scientists, national advocacy organizations and the community must work together to transform current thinking on brain donation for research. It is only through collaboration that we will succeed in our endeavors to help fuel groundbreaking research and ultimately discover novel approaches for treatments.

  • To acquire quality brain tissue from individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities as well as those considered to have typical development.

  • To collaborate and facilitate the sharing of high-quality brain tissue with scientists worldwide to increase our understanding of the biological basis of neurodevelopmental disabilities.

  • To support our team of multidisciplinary researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute and around the world in their efforts to develop preventions and treatments for various neurodevelopmental disabilities.

You will be giving researchers one of the most valuable resources to study neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, at a cellular and molecular level. A better understanding of neurodevelopmental disabilities may lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention, as well as new treatments.

Advancing the field of neurodevelopmental research

The MIND Institute Brain Endowment for Autism Research Sciences (BEARS) Program was primarily established to address the shortage of brain tissue for medical researchers to study. Advancements in the field of neurodevelopmental research have been delayed, and the field will eventually hit a roadblock without proper support from donor families, scientists, and the community to promote brain tissue donation for research.

To overcome this current shortage of brain tissue, we have launched the BEARS Tissue Program, which is designed to implement a system of regional collection sites spread across the country. This system will drastically improve communication and efficiency for brain tissue acquisition, preparation and worldwide distribution. It will also allow for donor families, coroners, community leaders, and pathologists within local vicinities to better interact and work together to optimize the quantity of donated cases, as well as speed of collection.

Brain tissue, once collected, will be transferred from these regional collection sites to our state-of-the-art research facility at the MIND Institute where brain research is being conducted. It is here that we have the expertise and leading-edge technology available to prepare, distribute, and immediately share every precious donation with the world community of neurodevelopmental researchers.

Our vision for what the BEARS Tissue Program can be is far more than a central management and collection site for brain tissue, but also a research facility whose unique resources and brilliant minds work hand in hand to advance the field of neurodevelopmental research.