Volunteer Roles & FAQS

 

Requirements:

  • Wear a fitness device (Fitbit tracker)

  • Allow your de-identified activity data to be part of the study

  • Commit to at least 6 months of activity tracking

Benefits:

  • Fitness device to keep (for those who do not already have one)

  • Individualized predictive model of activity

Activity Only Volunteer

Description of Volunteer Roles

Requirements:

  • Provide a blood sample every 6 months for 2 years

  • Wear a fitness device for ~24 hrs / day (Fitbit tracker)

  • Allow your de-identified cell/protein data and activity data to be part of the study

  • Commit to at least 2 years of activity tracking

Benefits:

  • Fitness device to keep (for those who do not already have one) 

  • Individualized living neural network model

  • Individualized predictive models for activity

  • Access to lab tours and updates on the project

Full Study Volunteer

Requirements:

  • Wear a fitness device (Fitbit tracker)

  • Track social activity usage (amount and frequency, not specifics of social activity) via a smartphone

  • Allow your de-identified activity and social activity usage data to be part of the study

  • Commit to at least 6 months of activity and social activity usage tracking

Benefits:

  • Fitness device to keep (for those who do not already have one)

  • Individualized predictive model for activity and social usage

Activity & Social Behavior Only Volunteer

Frequently Asked Questions

 

@ the Quantu Project

Q: What is the vision of the Quantu Project?

A: A future where brain health is prioritized. A future where we can successfully treat neurodegeneration and eradicate diseases like Alzheimer's. A future where each person's brain functions at its best, from birth throughout adulthood. 

Q: Why should I participate?

A: Because you have a brain, and you care about its health.

Or you care about someone who suffers or suffered from a neurodegenerative disease. And you want to help find treatments for cognitive diseases.

Or you care about advancing science. Or all of the above. 

 

Q: Why was the Quantu Project started?

A: We care about brains, and the brains of our family & friends. As biomedical engineers, computer scientists, and neuroscientists it has always been exciting to study how brain tissue forms and functions in the lab. At the same time, it was devastating and frustrating to see family members and friends suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. We started the Quantu Project to make a difference not just in the lab through discoveries and technology, but to also positively impact the lives of those around us - as soon as possible. 

Q: What is unique about the Quantu Project?

A: Many studies (e.g., see) have shown a role for education, nutrition, exercise, quality sleep, and other controllable lifestyle factors in maintaining brain health and lowering the risk of cognitive decline (even for people with genetic risks for Alzheimer's disease). Epidemiological research and other exciting prior studies in animal models catalyzed our work.

What makes the Quantu Project unique is that we're linking people's daily habits to brain cell communication to uncover the biological mechanisms of why lifestyle habits change the brain. The "living neural networks" form from brain cells made from our volunteer's blood; and computer models help bridge the gap between cell-level behavior and activity like sleep. We're also pioneering technologies that allow us to predict for an individual person what the effect of changing specific daily habits would mean for their future cognitive health. 

Q: What is the name Quantu for?

A: Quantu is a world map, or in this case a computer-generated (quantitative) mapping of an individual (you or tu) from daily behavior to cell signatures. Quantu is not an acronym.

Q: What are you ultimately hoping to find by this study?
A: An aim of this research is to identify whether specific biomarkers of new neuron formation and function link to daily activity patterns, with the long-term goal of identifying and designing new therapies or behavioral interventions that improve cognitive health and promote the healthy function of brain cells.

 

Q: Why is this information useful?
A: To understand what molecules, behaviors or processes underlie normal adult neural cell behavior, and what goes wrong in diseases that affect cognition (e.g., like dementia)

 

Q: Why activity tracking by fitness wearables?
A: Wearable technology provides access to quantitative data on human behaviors that research studies have linked to cognitive health (e.g., sleep, walking, blood pressure, blood oxygenation, social behavior).

Q: How do you study brain cell communication?

A: We've developed new experimental and computer-based methods to capture how healthy brain cells communicate with each other as they form tissue and repair after stress. An exciting part of these assays is that the brain cells can be derived from cells in human blood, which provides a non-harmful way of measuring brain cell function for each person. 

Volunteering for the Quantu Project

Q: Can I keep the fitness device?
A: Yes.


Q: When does the study start?
A: The study is recruiting now. Individual participants can start once they have been contacted and provided more detailed information by us; this includes signing permission forms and receiving the fitness devices.

Q: Do I need to start volunteering for the study now?
A: No. We're recruiting through at least 2023. 

Q: How do I sign up to volunteer?

A: Please sign up on the Quantu Project Volunteer page (if you prefer Google forms, we keep our previous form active, here). Signing up takes less than 2 min. 

Q: Is signing up to volunteer the same thing as enrolling?

A: No. Not everyone who signs-up to volunteer will be asked to enroll. Everyone who signs up can opt to receive information about the Quantu Project and related workshops.

Q: How long does it take to enroll?

A: Enrollment in-person, by app, or by phone takes 5 min to ~1 hr. This consists of reading and signing the consent forms, downloading an app, and setting up the fitness device.

Q: What age groups are you looking for?
A: A distribution of ages, both young and older volunteers. 

Q: Can children enroll?

A: Yes, children ages 2+ can now enroll with the permission of their parent or guardian, who would need to fill in the enrollment form

Q: Do I have to be athletic and fit? 

A: No. We accept volunteers from all fitness backgrounds. Athletes in top cardiovascular shape may help us learn more about how exercise protects the brain, hence why we recruit athletes. They are one group among our volunteers.

Q: Do I have to live in a certain location?
A: No. We are currently recruiting across the U.S. and plan to expand internationally. Workshops and in-person locations are in Texas and California.

 

Q: Will my information be secure?

A: Yes. Your name is removed from the data before it is stored or analyzed. Additionally, the de-identified data is stored on a secure server, with access restricted to researchers listed on the Institutional Review Board protocol. 

Q: What are my chances of being accepted as a volunteer?
A: We are excited by the numbers of people who contacted us to volunteer. As of Fall 2019, we have been accepting ~25% of applicants based mainly on study priorities (full study volunteers receive priority) and logistics like location. We enroll in waves, so if you don't hear back from us immediately, it's likely you'll receive an invitation for an upcoming enrollment. We aim to respond to you as soon as possible.

Info & Tips for Current Volunteers

Q: As an active Quantu Project volunteer, what is expected me?

A: Please see the volunteer roles, above. For all volunteers, we provide a fitness device, and just ask that you wear it as you go about normal activities. For most full volunteers, we plan to ask for a blood-draw every six months. A subset of volunteers are being asked to participate in cognitive testing and/or sleep studies. We also are designing exercise & sleep intervention studies to test ways to improve cognitive health, and will ask for volunteers from among our enrolled participants across ages. Many volunteers have wanted to take advantage of other benefits of the Quantu Project (attend workshops on the latest research in brain health, join volunteer-run exercise or music groups, etc), too. Each part is voluntary.

Q: What if I want to stop being a volunteer? 

A: Every part of participating in the Quantu Project is voluntary, and you can decide to only participate in part of the study or withdraw at any point. Please contact us should you make this decision, so we don't continue to anticipate your participation. 

Q: What if I want to help, but wearing a fitness device on my wrist bothers me?

A: Please contact us. We could offer options for new bands or alternative trackers and/or see whether you'd be interested in volunteering for a different part of the study.

Q: What if the device doesn't pick up physical activities I know I did (e.g., swimming, weights)?

A: Please see our tips on optimizing the use of the device or contact us. Settings can be changed to be more sensitive and/or exercise can be manually recorded. Just let us know if you do change settings. For the study, we are looking at trends over time and across many people, so consistency is important. We are also calibrating and identifying sources of error in sensors in a clinical setting.

Q: Who do I contact if I have technical issues with the wearable device or Quantu Project app?

A: Feel free to contact us (team@quantuproject.org).  

Q: My family members and friends want to volunteer. Do they receive priority in enrolling?

A: We try to prioritize family members of our active volunteers, when all study requirements are met - please let us know when they sign-up. 

General Questions

Q: Are there opportunities to learn about the science behind the study?
A: Yes, we host workshops on brain health, an annual hands-on lab workshop and tutorials on data analysis and publish on our methods & the results of our studies.

 

We also will offer tours for full study volunteers to learn more about our work and technologies.

Q: What if I have additional questions?

A: Contact us at anytime. We can be reached by email at team@quantuproject.org or text us at (210) 346-0027. More information can also be found on the main website, QuantuProject.org.

 

 

 

email team@quantuproject.org     |    text  210.346.0027

 

QuantuProject.org