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Biomarker data collection instruments for student research

Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology








This proposal requests funding for instruments needed for student research involving collection of biological data in non-clinical settings. Biomarkers are increasingly used in a variety of academic disciplines to provide objective measures of health and physiology that can be linked to diverse environmental and social factors. Unlike clinical research, biomarker measurement in field or community-based data collection depends on low-cost, ‘field-friendly,’ and minimally invasive techniques validated for a range of biological specimen types (e.g. saliva, urine, hair, feces, and finger prick blood collected onto filter paper or in capillary blood tubes), thus enabling broad population sampling. Training in these non-clinical biological assessment techniques is increasingly necessary for students interested in careers at the intersection of health and social or environmental factors. The items we request include two categories of equipment. The first category, portable instruments intended for use in field data collection phases of research, includes (1) research-grade accelerometers for recording activity and sleep, (2) vital signs monitors (blood pressure, heart rate, and lung function), (3) portable anthropometrics instruments for precise measures of body size and composition, and (4) tools to allow field cold storage of blood and other biological specimens. The second category is laboratory equipment: high-precision pipettes to be used to assay the resulting biological specimens in the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) Biodemography Lab. This proposal is submitted by CSDE on behalf of both CSDE (primary proposal contact, Eleanor Brindle) and the Department of Anthropology (contact, Dr. Melanie Martin), and represents a continuation of a long-standing collaboration between the two departments to support student training and research combining the biological and social sciences.

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