About Us

The Mount Sinai/JJ Peters VA Medical Center NBTR has been in continuous operation since 1982, and has been directed by Dr. Vahram Haroutunian since inception. It was originally established as an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain bank and was expanded in 1990 to include donations from persons with schizophrenia and serious mental illness. In 2013, the Brain Bank further expanded its mission to include multiple other brain-associated disorders. Results of studies using specimens from the NBTR have been published in over 350 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals including: Nature, Science, and JAMA, among many others.

Studies using specimens from the NBTR have contributed to:

  • The understanding of the chemical deficits in the brain during AD and the development of the current FDA approved treatments for AD.
  • Our understanding of the order in which neuropathology develops in AD.
  • The expression of RNA in different brain regions at different stages of AD and the vulnerability of the brain at different ages and stages of dementia.
  • Knowledge of dementia similarities and differences in young-old persons (65-85 years) vs. oldest-old persons (above 85 years).
  • The relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors and dementia.
  • The relationship between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease and the potential of anti-diabetes therapies in reducing the burden of AD.
  • The association between high blood pressure medication and reduced Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology.
  • The relationship between depression and dementia.
  • Analysis of brain changes in AD at the level of systems and networks.
  • How biochemical pathways in the brain are affected in schizophrenia.
  • The differences in RNA expression in different brain regions of persons with schizophrenia.
  • Identification and broad acceptance of specific nervous system abnormalities in schizophrenia.
  • The role of other helper cells (glia) of the brain in the development of schizophrenia.
  • Analysis of brain changes in schizophrenia at the level of systems and networks.
  • Initiation of unique medication trials with a new class of drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia.
  • Identification of the unique neurobiology of suicide and biological features that could predict vulnerability to suicide and aggressive behavior.