The Hugh Green Biobank

The Hugh Green Biobank (HGB), established in 2011 by Professor Mike Dragunow, is a world-leading facility dedicated to identifying new treatments for brain disorders by studying human brain cells derived from autopsy and neurosurgical brain tissue donors.

Almost all human brain cell types are now grown routinely in the facility. In addition, the HGB grows and studies brain tumour cells. Cells are used in research led by Professor Dragunow with staff and students of the Centre for Brain Research (CBR), as well as other researchers in New Zealand and worldwide to identify the causes of brain diseases and most importantly to help develop medications to treat brain disorders and cancers.

The HGB was established with an initial generous grant of $1M and then by a second generous grant of $1.3M from the Hugh Green Foundation. Most recently, the Hugh Green Foundation awarded an amazing gift of a further $11.5M dollars to support the Hugh Green Biobank in perpetuity!

Our team

The HGB is directed by Professor Mike Dragunow from the CBR at the University of Auckland. A number of CBR staff work with and for the HGB, which is closely associated with the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank and with neurosurgeons, neuropathologists, nurses, neurologists and other staff at Auckland Hospital.

The HGB supports University of Auckland Public Good Scientific Research, Philanthropic-funded Research and Commercial Research (Neurovalida) into human brain disorders and cancers and especially into developing treatments for these devastating conditions, honouring the wishes of the generous brain tissue donors.

Our work and achievements

The HGB is now one of the world’s leading facilities for isolating, growing and studying normal and diseased adult human brain cells from consenting donors. These methods have recently been published in Nature - Protocols.

Drug discovery and testing using human brain cells

Working closely with medicinal chemists, the HGB is involved in discovering and developing new treatments for brain disorders and brain cancers by testing human brain cells.

Studies of brain disease causation using human brain cells

The HGB working with many other scientists has advanced basic knowledge of human brain disorders. Disorders studied include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Motor neuron disease, Epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, as well as brain cancers.


Professor Mike Dragunow
Director, Hugh Green Biobank
Phone: +64 9 923 6403