Public’s Help Sought to Advance Scientific Breakthroughs

Participate in Discovery

The University of Missouri School of Medicine has launched a new tool in the pursuit of scientific breakthroughs: Participate in Discovery. The program invites all community members to take part in research projects that may benefit not only themselves, but one day possibly even others around the nation.

“At the University of Missouri, the community plays an essential role in our pursuit of scientific discoveries,” said Jerry Parker, PhD, interim senior associate dean for research and principal investigator on the project. “With Participate in Discovery, we’re asking you to join with us as we seek to improve the lives of all Missourians. You can be a key component in helping us advance our understanding of a variety of health issues.”

Participate in Discovery provides a secure, streamlined process to match participants with researchers working in a variety of areas. To enroll, community members answer questions about their background and lifestyle habits, as well as topics of interest, ranging from autism to weight loss. This information is then used to match enrollees with studies that match their interests.

Jeff Ordway has served on the MU Center for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Patient Advisory Board for two years after spinal issues forced him to retire from teaching. As both a patient and a member of the board, he’s seen firsthand how important the public is to advancing discoveries. 

“Participating in research is about finding answers that have the potential to help someone,” Ordway said. “The idea of Participate in Discovery is about doing what you can to further that process. You can help with research that can have a positive outcome for everyone involved.”

One such researcher seeking the public’s assistance is Jill Kanaley, PhD, associate chair of the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. She is eager to connect with study participants to learn more about how exercising at different times of day affects individuals with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

“The community plays a huge role in advancing discoveries,” Kanaley said. “If we don’t have people to help us advance our research, we can’t translate that knowledge to the general public to improve the lives of people everywhere. This is really a win-win opportunity. We get support for our projects while participants learn about their unique medical conditions.”

Involvement in a project could mean answering questions by telephone or on a computer, or coming to the university and participating in-person. Participate in Discovery is designed for anyone interested in furthering scientific research. There are no costs involved with registering. At any time, participants can be removed from the list.

To enroll in Participate in Discovery, visit