Skin tissue models – Professor Bing Hu. Development, treatment and prevention of skin cancer and disease. Testing of cosmetics. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Human Tissue Authority (HTA)

The use of human tissue at the University requires that legislation covered in The Human Tissue Act (2004) is observed. The Human Tissues Act aims to provide a legal framework for regulating the storage and use of human tissue from the living, and the removal, storage and use of tissue from the deceased.
All researchers and staff working with clinical samples should be aware of The Human Tissue Act (2004) legislation and the guidelines and codes of conduct provided by the Human Tissue Authority. All researchers and staff should be aware that any human material containing cells must ordinarily be stored as part of an ethically approved project or under the authority of a licence issued by the Human Tissue Authority.
The University of Plymouth holds a HTA licence for storing human tissue for research purposes only. Access the links below for further information or email

University HTA Licence

HTA Designated Individual (DI):
Dr Matt Jones
+44 1752 583278
Derriford Research Facility
16 Research Way,
PL6 8BU Plymouth
HTA Persons Designated (PDs) can be found via the HTA Governance Group (internal SharePoint site - if you are unable to access this page, please contact IT Helpdesk).
Corporate licence holder now University of Plymouth (Professor Rob Sneyd, Dean of PSMD, is signatory on behalf of the University but is not the Designated Individual or Person Designated).

Levels of reference:

  • 1. Human Tissue Act 2004

  • 2. Human Tissue Authority (HTA) Codes of Practice (regulations, standards & guidelines): Key codes for attention, requirements for license compliance

  • 3. University HTA Quality Manual: Describes overarching regulations, responsibilities and structure. It includes the institution's Human Tissue Policy statements describing how the University complies with HTA.

    Other University policies not included in the Quality Manual as statements may also be relevant to HT research activities and referred to.

  • 4. University Core Standard Operating Procedures (CoreSOPs): Practical instructions for implementing the policies, meeting license requirements and applying the HTA codes of practice. At a more local level SOPs may be tailored to account for research group, study or lab situations. These are referred to as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

  • 5. University Codes of Practice (COPs) are existing university codes, mostly linked to safety procedures.

  • 6. There is a HTA Governance Group which reports to PSMD Research Governance Committee and University Research Ethics and Integrity Committee (UREIC).