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Neuropathology and Ocular Pathology

The Department of Neuropathology and Ocular Pathology is integrated into the Neurosciences directorate of Oxford University Hospitals, as part of the overall Neurosciences centre for the region.

We also work closely with the separate Department of Cellular Pathology and we ensure that our processes are aligned wherever possible.

The department provides a UKAS accredited (to ISO 15189:2012) diagnostic pathology service for diseases affecting the nervous system, including eye and muscle, for the central Oxford and regional hospitals, including those from the private sector; it also provides a national and international referral service.

The range of services includes:

  • diagnostic histopathology of biopsies of the central and peripheral nervous system and their coverings
  • diagnostic histopathology of ophthalmic biopsies
  • diagnostic histopathology of muscle biopsies
  • diagnostic cytopathology of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • diagnostic histopathology of skin biopsies for small fibre neuropathies
  • diagnostic neuropathology post-mortem service for local and regional hospitals, including specialist neonatal and paediatric neuropathology and work for H.M. Coroner
  • a coordinating centre for prospective collection, neuropathological assessment and storage of CNS tissue for research and teaching.

User Handbook

The Neuropathology User Handbook provides users with information about our department and the services we offer, as well as useful instructions and advice around specimen preparation and handling.

Neuropathology User Handbook (pdf, 915 KB)

Private patients

The department accepts private referrals for second opinions or primary diagnostic assessment.

Find us and contact us

Level 1, West Wing
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 234904

Teaching and research

As the department is part of a busy university hospital and the sole provider of specialist neuropathology and ophthalmic pathology services in Oxfordshire, it also serves as a regional teaching centre. This involves:

  • postgraduate specialist training in neuropathology
  • specialist neuropathology training for biomedical scientists
  • teaching of Oxford Medical School undergraduate and postgraduate students (lectures, practical courses, higher degrees)
  • national postgraduate teaching for candidates preparing for fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath).

The department is also supporting independent and collaborative research in the following areas of interest:

  • pathology and genetics of gliomas and pituitary adenomas
  • neuromuscular pathology
  • neurodevelopmental pathology
  • prospective clinico-pathological studies of aging and dementia (the Brains for Dementia Research (BDR) project)
  • pathology and genetics of movement disorders, particularly ataxias and motor neuron diseases
  • pathology of autism and developmental neurological diseases
  • pathology and pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis in humans and experimental models

For more on some of these topics please visit:

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences - Division of Clinical Neurology

Organ and tissue donation

The department of Neuropathology supports the Oxford Brain Bank where possible. The Oxford Brain Bank is hosted by the University of Oxford and falls under the university governance framework.

Tissue received for diagnosis may be donated to this tissue bank, subject to appropriate and informed written consent.

For further information, please contact Dr Laura Parkkinen.


Charitable donations

It is possible to make a charitable donation to the work of the department.

Please contact Dr Clara Limbaeck (Clinical Lead) for more information:


Dementias and Neurodegeneration Research

Thames Valley DeNDRoN is an NHS-based research network that aims to improve the amount and quality of research in dementias (e.g. Alzheimer's disease and others), ataxia, Huntington's, Parkinson's and Motor Neurone Disease.

They offer a specialist research service within the NHS, helping to set up, run and provide research opportunities to patients, carers and clinicians. They offer a unique service, giving members of the public the opportunity to find out more about the latest research in these areas, as well as how they can get involved.

They are part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

They also run a specific study called 'Brains for Dementia Research'.

Enquiries: 01865 231556


Last reviewed:12 December 2023