The Parkinson's Disease Biospecimen Review Access Committee (PD BRAC) is responsible for reviewing all requests for biospecimen access.

A Summary of the Application Process:

Step 1: Determine Sample Availablity

Investigators are encouraged to learn about samples held in the various repositories before applying.

Step 2: Submit Online Application

All investigators interested in obtaining biosamples must submit an online application for approval.

Step 3: PD BRAC Reviews Application

All applications are submitted to the PD BRAC for review. Upon approval, an investigator is able to obtain biosamples.

Step 1: Determine Sample Availability

For access to samples from the PDBP Biorepository, Investigators must first apply for a PDBP Data Management Resource (DMR) account to query for sample availability. Once an account is obtained, biosample information can be found in the NINDS Biorepository PDBP Sample Catalog within the Query module. For assistance with DMR accounts or PDBP biosamples, please contact Andrea Lutz, andrea.lutz@sapient.com. For all other cohorts, contact the appropriate representative below.

Step 2: Submit Online Application

All applications are submitted through an online webform. Within the webform, applicants are required to upload the following files (in pdf, gif, jpg, jpeg, or png file formats):

    •     Biosketch
    •     Research Strategy (4 page limit)
    •     Table Summary of Samples of Interest (This should include information on sample availability.)

What to expect

The first page of the webform requires the investigator to fill in basic information (e.g. name, institution, address) and to upload the biosketch. The second page of the webform requires the investigator to upload the application files (e.g. Research Strategy and Table Summary) and provide information about funding support for the study.

Applications for biospecimen access will be received on a rolling submission basis and reviewed during the following cycles:

Date Submitted Date of Review
July 16, 2018 - September 15, 2018 October 18, 2018
September 16, 2018 - December 15, 2018 January 31, 2019
December 16, 2018 - February 15, 2019 March 28, 2019
February 16, 2019 - April 15, 2019 May 30, 2019
April 16, 2019 - July 15, 2019 August 15, 2019
July 16, 2019 - September 15, 2019 October 31, 2019

Please note that your application will be shared with Program Staff from NINDS, MJFF, HBS, DMR/Sapient, and BioSEND/IU. Our PD-BRAC subscribes to the ethical requirements, as described within the Conflict of Interest document and Confidentiality Agreement.

Step 3: PD BRAC Reviews Application

The BRAC committee will assess the applications based on experimental rationale, feasibility/reproducibility of the assays, expertise of the investigator, availability of institutional resources to support the study, and the statistical analysis of the number of samples required for the hypothesis testing. Investigators will be notified by email the outcome of the review (i.e. approve, approve upon revisions, or deny) within a week after the review meeting. Summary statements are released within 2-3 weeks after review. For applications that were ‘approved upon revision’, investigators will be notified about concerns that would need to be addressed before the application could move forward. Please note that the PD BRAC does not provide funding. If sample access is approved by the PD BRAC, the two possible outcomes are:

    1.     If the study has funding, the samples are distributed to the investigator following a virtual meeting to introduce the sample distribution process ("onboarding") and after fulfillment by the investigator of the additional requirements specified by the selected repository (i.e. MTA, Data Use Agreement, fees, data analysis and sharing plan). This post-BRAC process for biosample distribution is outlined in these documents (PDBP, BioFIND). For questions, please contact Christine Swanson-Fischer, Ph.D.
    2.     If the investigator has yet to obtain funding for the study, the BRAC will issue a letter to the applicant documenting provisional access to the samples requested. This letter can be used to support an application for funding opportunities from the NIH or other organizations. Conditional approvals will be valid for a period of up to 12 months.

Questions about the review process should be directed to Christine Swanson-Fischer, Ph.D.


For NINDS funding opportunities, the investigator is encouraged to contact Deborah Babcock (dbabcock@ninds.nih.gov) for more information. For MJFF funding opportunities, please note that MJFF funds promising biomarker projects that use samples available through the NINDS BRAC. To request funding to enable sample analysis, submit a proposed budget using the MJFF budget template to resources@michaeljfox.org for review in parallel with the sample application submitted to NINDS. Please visit www.michaeljfox.org dataspecimens to access the MJFF budget template and please direct any questions on MJFF funding availability to resources@michaeljfox.org.

BRAC reviewers are required to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest. The PD-BRAC subscribes to the ethical requirements for NIH reviewers, as described within the Conflict of Interest document.

BRAC Membership

Dr. Christine Swanson-Fischer is the NINDS PD BRAC Liason and can be contacted at NINDS-PD-BRAC@ninds.nih.gov. The complete BRAC roster is listed here.

The current list of approved Biospecimen Requests through the PD BRAC can be found here.

Still have questions?  View our frequently asked questions about biosample access. All other questions should be directed to NINDS-PD-BRAC@ninds.nih.gov.