Spit for Science

Are you a faculty member who wants to get involved in Spit for Science or COBE?

COBE offers a supportive community to build research collaborations and to promote career development among faculty whose research interests relate to substance use, mental health, or the promotion of well-being in young people. Ways to get involved

Work with the Spit for Science Data
Spit for Science is a registry of incoming freshmen who enrolled in 2011-2014 (N ~10,000 students) and are being followed longitudinally.  Surveys were administered in the fall semester of the students’ first year, and then every spring thereafter (initial response rate ~70%).  DNA was collected via saliva, and genome-wide data is available on the sample.  Surveys are developed in collaboration with faculty from across the university with expertise in various aspects of behavioral and emotional health, and data is available to all VCU faculty and trainees. Currently, 62 faculty and 32 trainees (pre and post-doctoral) from 18 different departments are working with the Spit for Science data.  To learn more about what data are available and how to develop your own project idea, contact the Spit for Science Registry Coordinator, Ms. Kimberly Pedersen at kimberly.pedersen@vcuhealth.org.

Students in the Spit for Science Registry may also be selected based on phenotypic or genotypic characteristics for more intensive “spin-off” studies.  For example, spin-off projects have involved brain imaging on a subset of students, collecting EMA data on smokers and many other topics.  To learn more about conducting a spin-off study, contact the Spit for Science Registry Coordinator at spit4science@vcu.edu.

There have been 19 awarded grants, include 6 training grants, related to Spit for Science and broader COBE initiatives, with 8 additional grants submitted for review.  COBE Director, Dr. Danielle Dick is happy to work with faculty to develop their own grant applications that make use of this unique resource.  Contact Dr. Dick at ddick@vcu.edu if you are interested in developing a grant proposal using Spit for Science data.

We have many undergraduate students who contact us with interest in working with the Spit for Science data.  Many of these students have been through the Spit for Science Research Course and/or Spit for Science Research Bootcamp, and thus have familiarity with the data.  If you would like to mentor an undergraduate student to assist you with analyses of the Spit for Science dataset, please contact Dr. Amy Adkins, Director of Undergraduate Research for COBE at adkinsae@vcu.edu.