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South London and Maudsley

Photo credit: Peter GassionThe SLaM BioResource for Mental Health in collaboration with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital BioResource (both part of the NIHR BioResource) and King’s College Hospital Neurological Services focuses on research into psychiatry and neurology from our local clinical psychiatry and neurology services. Specifically, we have volunteers including people with diagnoses of dementia, schizophrenia, autism, mood and eating disorders as well as epilepsy, motor neuron disease, and neurological sleep and eye disorders. We currently have over 10 000 volunteers with samples stored within the BioResource, and have a goal of collecting 5000 more this year. We also store contact details and are able to re-approach our volunteers to help recruit for other studies, such as clinical trials.

We have collected 1,887 consented samples from volunteers so far this year. As we expand our network of collaborators, we hope to continue to increase this annual target until we achieve our overall collection target of 50 000 biological samples. These samples are paired with anonymized clinical, and in about 20%, neuroimaging data and are available to clinicians, researchers, and students who are interested in researching the biological changes and genetics behind the development of different psychiatric and neurological conditions. We collaborate extensively with researchers and clinicians from the King’s College London, South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust as well as neurology services in King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust. We attend the clinics of collaborating clinicians and also welcome volunteers from our local communities and charitable organisations. We collaborate with existing research projects by organizing sample collections from participants, consenting them also to our BioResource and then storing these for future use. We also attend clinics at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences where we actively recruit memory, dementia and neurology patients from across South East London.

We have a unique collaboration with the Charlotte’s Helix Initiative, a parent run charity that aims to increase genetic and biological research into anorexia. Along with international efforts, the overall aim to collect 25 000 samples worldwide from volunteers who are suffering or who have suffered from Anorexia Nervosa. With this number of samples, researches can begin to look into the genetics behind eating disorders and hopefully gain better understanding into their causes, and potentially into more efficient treatments. The BioResource has teamed up with Charlotte’ Helix who has pledged to collect 1000 of these samples from across the United Kingdom. At this time we have collected more than 600 of these samples.

The SLaM BioResource is supporting local delivery of the 100K Genomes Project in collaboration with the South London Genomic Medicine Centre. This initiative aims to take advantage of huge advantages in genomics research, and use them to provide potential benefits to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rare diseased within the NHS. We will be recruiting trios of family members where one or more members are affected with Classical Tuberous Sclerosis, Moderate/ Severe Intellectual Disability, Severe Familial Low Weight or Anorexia Nervosa, or Kleine-Levin Syndrome. These families will have their full genomes sequenced and genetic risk variants identified which can help lead to a better understanding of not only the causes of rare diseases but also potentially of the treatments for these conditions.

For more information, or if you wish to collaborate with the Bioresource contact Dr Cerisse Gunasighe at:

If you would like to volunteer for the BioResource contact: