Forensic Science Research on Human Hair

Researchers in the Forensic & Investigative Science Program at West Virginia University are seeking volunteers to submit hair and nail samples for a research project.

The goal of the project is to test the hypothesis that we can predict useful information about a person by making chemical measurements of a person’s hair or nails. The information could range from the age group and sex of a person to the dietary habits or progression of a chronic disease, like liver cancer.

Participants interested in donating a small sample of scalp hair and some fingernail clippings must first register below to receive an application packet through the mail. Once selected, you will be asked to provide at least 0.1 grams of hair (>30 hairs of 24” length or >60 hairs of 12” length, etc.), provide at least one full-width nail clipping, and answer approximately 45 questions about your physical health, medical history and diet.

We will not accept hair from subjects who are pregnant, cognitively impaired or incarcerated. We will not be analyzing the hair for drugs, drug metabolites or DNA. Your involvement in this project will be kept as confidential as legally possible. All data will be reported in the aggregate, so cannot lead back to your identity as an individual. You must be 7 years of age or older to participate. Participants between the ages of 7-18 must complete and assent form and must have all legal parents or guardian’s consent to participation.

The researchers will pay all shipping costs for all the forms and samples through the use of pre-paid envelopes. You may skip any question that you do not wish to answer and you may discontinue participation at any time by notifying a member of the research team in writing.

Your participation is completely voluntary, so you will not be compensated financially for your help.

West Virginia University's Institutional Review Board acknowledgement of this project is on file.

If you have any questions about the project or your eligibility to participate, please contact Dr. Glen P. Jackson at West Virginia University. (glen.jackson@mail.wvu.edu, office: 304-293-9236).

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* 1. Please provide your mailing address so that we can mail you a package of instructions, consent forms, and envelopes for hair samples and mailing. We will not share your contact information with anyone.

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An example of ~100 mg of long hair, the minimum requested donation amount.

An example of ~100 mg of long hair, the minimum requested donation amount.

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An example of ~100 mg of short hair, the minimum requested donation amount.

An example of ~100 mg of short hair, the minimum requested donation amount.
In the event that we receive more vounteers than we can handle, we may not follow up with all the volunteers.
We appreciate your willingness to participate.

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