Currently Recruiting Research Studies

The Green Road at Bethesda

A large body of evidence supports the benefits of nature exposure in wellness and healing. However, few studies have investigated the healing effects of nature in a military population and include objective biomarkers of health and well-being. This study will examine the acute effects of walking through a natural green environment (Green Road) versus a minimally-green, man-made environment (Urban Road) on mood, stress perception, and well-being in our active duty service members (wounded and non-wounded), their families, and caregivers. Participants (men and women 18 - 60 years of age) will be exposed to both environments to serve as their own control, and will be randomly assigned as to which road they will traverse first. It is a randomized, prospective, mixed methods, cross-over design. We will measure the healing effects of nature by comparing pre- and post-walk as well as between-walk measures of stress-responsive biomarkers (salivary cortisol and DHEA; sweat neuroimmune markers); physiological responses of autonomic tone (heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure); and various psychosocial and spiritual outcomes obtained through quantitative questionnaires and a qualitative interview. This study will provide empirical data concerning the therapeutic effects of nature as a facilitator in psycho-social-spiritual healing, thereby alleviating some of the symptoms and stresses faced by Wounded Warriors and their families and promoting recovery.

If interested, please call (301) 295-1371.

Volunteers needed – Genomics of Exertion Related events in Sickle Cell Trait

The USU Consortium for Health and Military Performance is conducting a study to better understand the association between Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) and Exertion Related Events (EREs). The study will search for genetic markers of EREs in individuals with SCT. We invite African American SCT positive men and women who are active duty military personnel, military families or civilian between the ages of 18 to 80 years, with or without a history of ERE to participate. The study will involve authorization of HIPAA form to grant access to medical information, questionnaires on medical history, and a one-time blood draw. Participants may be compensated for their time.

Please contact the USU Human Performance Lab at (240)479-9514 or send an email to, if you need further information regarding how you can participate.

Exertion Related Illness Study (ERIS)

The USU Consortium for Health and Military Performance is conducting a study utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to determine molecular subtypes of exertional related illnesses (ERI) and to develop a framework to translate our findings into clinical action. To this end, we: 1) have developed a network within the Military Health System (MHS)  to systematically, efficiently, effectively manage, and triage patients presenting with exertional heat illness and/or exertional rhabdomyolysis (ER); 2) will determine the contributions of intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors associated with ERI, and create a scoring system to triage Service Members to early return to duty or further specialty evaluation for recurrence risk; 3) will develop genetic and biologic screening tools for ERI that can be deployed as far forward as possible with the ultimate goal of differentiating those at risk for recurrence and those who can be returned to full duty.The development of the scoring system for the MHS will allow the treatment provider to learn tests that should be ordered immediately. It will also allow for the treatment provider to inform the patient on the process, how long it might take to be completed, and the potential outcomes.

Please contact the USU Human Performance Lab at (301) 295-1371 if you would like further information regarding how you can participate.