NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

NIHR BioResource Centre Manchester

The NIHR BioResource is a nationwide platform that supports research in a number of health conditions.

It brings together people who have consented to be approached to take part in research, with researchers who need volunteers for their studies.

The BioResource has recruited over 150,000 people, healthy volunteers as well as patients with common and rare diseases, all willing to participate in research and has supported more than 200 studies.

How does the BioResource work?

Volunteers could be asked to join the BioResource by a health professional whilst in their GP surgery, attending a hospital appointment, if they have previously participated in research, or they could even get in touch themselves.

Once someone volunteers for the BioResource, they give a DNA sample (usually a small amount of blood and saliva) at a local clinic or surgery, along with information about their health and lifestyle.

Their DNA samples are sent away for storage, whilst their unique DNA code and other information is added to national database. Samples are given a unique barcode and kept separately from their personal information, such as name, address and date of birth. All information is held securely and protected by national governance and ethics policies.

Researchers working in the NHS, universities or industry can then contact the BioResource to request samples for their work. If researchers need people with a specific genetic make-up (genotype) or physical characteristics (phenotype), the BioResource can quickly identify these from the database and contact them to see if they would like to participate.

About the NIHR BioResource Centre Manchester

The NIHR Manchester BioResource Centre is one of thirteen BioResource Centres across England. Each centre  coordinates the recruitment of volunteers in their local area, and is supported by the NIHR Biomedical Resource Centres (BRC) and Clinical Research Facilities (CRF).

The BioResource cohorts cover three main areas: common diseases, rare diseases and healthy population.

Become involved in research – NIHR BioResource

Common Diseases & IMID BioResource

Common diseases affect more than 2% of the population, often across age groups. The NIHR BioResource provides national-scale recruitment for these diseases:  Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases, Mental Health and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Manchester leads the Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMID) BioResource.  We recruit UK patients with IMID conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and connective tissue diseases such as lupus. These conditions affect a large proportion of the UK population – with rheumatoid arthritis affecting over 430,000 UK adults alone – significantly impacting their quality of life.

IMID BioResource is a collaboration of northern NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRC) – Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.  Manchester University NHS FT is the lead centre for IMID BioResource, supported by The University of Manchester, NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Centre (CRF).

Volunteers provide a small blood sample and health and lifestyle information, which is stored in the NIHR BioResource national database which researchers can subsequently use to find potential study participants.

Contact the IMID team on  and on Twitter @IMIDBioResource

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) BioResource

In the UK, over 500,000 people live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (together known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD). These conditions are characterised by debilitating abdominal symptoms and, in their severe forms, have a major adverse impact on health and quality of life.

The IBD BioResource aims to:

  • find the causes of Crohn’s and colitis
  • uncover factors that determine the severity of IBD or determine response to treatment
  • help to develop new treatments

In Manchester, recruitment to the IBD BioResource takes place at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Rare Diseases

The BioResource aims to identify genetic causes of rare diseases, so improving rates of diagnosis, and enabling studies to develop and validate treatments.  The BioResource recruits affected participants and their relatives across several disease areas, including infection and immunity, neuroscience, rare cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Manchester recruits to all the rare diseases in the BioResource. Recruitment is coordinated by the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.  Also, Manchester leads nationally on these rare diseases. These are:

  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) – a genetic condition that causes tiny, non-cancerous tumours to develop along nerve cells
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) – a similar genetic condition to NF1, but with different symptoms
  • Congenital Hyperinsinulism (CHI)  – a condition caused by defective insulin-creating cells in the pancreas, often causing severe low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
  • Familial Interstitial Pneumonia – refers to an association of two or more cases of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias in the same family. Idiopathic interstitial pneumonias, or IIPs, are conditions associated with lung scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) of an unknown cause.
  • Membranous Nephropathy (MN) – the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in adults and is seen to occur in about 10 per million population per year. Once the disease occurs patients can have varied spectrum of illnesses ranging from spontaneous remission to severe progression of the disease, leading to end stage kidney failure.

Opening Soon

  • Turner Syndrome – a multisystem syndrome affecting women and girls with a wide range of symptoms and some distinctive characteristics
  • Chromatin Disorders – Manchester and Guy’s and St Thomas

Health Populations

Any member of the public can join the NIHR BioResource, with or without a health condition.  Without participants, research cannot progress.

Find out more or get involved in the BioResource:

Clinicians & Healthcare Professionals for Rare Diseases

If you are a clinician at MFT, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT) or The Christie and would like to start recruiting patients, please contact:

Laura Crowther
Clinical Trials Manager
Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine

Clinicians & Healthcare Professionals for Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases

Please contact

Fiona Stirling
IMID BioResource Project Manager
The University of Manchester


If you are a patient with a rare or common disease or condition and would like to volunteer, please discuss this with your consultant.

Healthy Volunteers

If you don’t have an existing health condition and would like to volunteer for the BioResource, please contact, or phone 0800 090 22 33.