Karolinska Institutet Donatum

Karolinska Institutet Donatum

KI Donatum is a non-commercial core facility for academic and health care-related research and offers postmortem material to researchers, as well as support in writing applications for ethical approval.


KI Donatum was established in 2004, and offers postmortem material from well characterized donors to researchers. Swedish regulations regarding the use of material from deceased subjects are very strict. KI Donatum offers support in writing applications for ethical approvals, and assists with study design in order to make the projects conform to Swedish regulations.

KI Donatum is not a biobank, instead a prospective strategy is used. This means that precisely the tissues requested (by accurate anatomical identification and dissection when necessary) are collected, that the samples are handled as requested (e.g. freezing in isopentane-dry ice, special fixatives, tissues culture mediums etc) and that medical history and other information about the deceased subject that are important for the research project are specifically searched for from different sources, including semi-structured interviews with relatives. Today, tissues have been collected from 400 deceased subjects for dozens of research projects resulting in many publications in high impact journals, including Nature, Science, Cell and PNAS.


Tissues are collected before or during the medico-legal autopsy. KI Donatum provides the practical service regarding continuous surveillance of donors, assessment of inclusion criteria, and accurate dissection and procurement of tissues of interest. KI Donatum also offers different types of requested processing, and short-term storage of material. Further, KI Donatum can provide certain testing of the donors and the tissues, e.g. to estimate post-mortem interval or other markers of suitability of tissues. Comprehensive toxicological results are always provided. Segmental hair analysis of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs can also be performed. Detailed, but non-person identifiable, data about the deceased subjects from the Forensic Pathology database, medical records, the police report and from relatives, are retrieved and linked to the material collected.

Practical information

For each project KI Donatum will write an agreement with the principal investigator. This requires that the project has been approved by a Regional Ethical Committee. KI Donatum charges the investigator a non-benefit fee based on the estimated cost for the work performed.

Interested in Industry collaboration
Department of Oncology-Pathology
Karolinska Institutet
171 76 Stockholm