After a donor dies, scientists have only a 24-hour window to preserve a specimen for research. One hemisphere, or half, of each donated brain is frozen in liquid nitrogen for genetic analysis. The other half is preserved in a chemical solution for anatomical study. Scientists from labs worldwide use the donated brain tissue to study disorders affecting the brain.
Berretta uses brain-bank tissue in her own research. “We now know disorders like schizophrenia involve several parts of the brain and many molecules,” she says.