The Research Need:
Do you know about 80 million Americans suffer from hair loss (also known as alopecia)? While the exact causes of alopecia are unknown, we do know that healthy hair grows from a healthy scalp. A hair disorder like alopecia can involve hair loss which prevents regrowth. Of the products marketed to alleviate hair loss that is reversible, nearly 99% are ineffective. This doesn’t have to be the case. Modern technologies allow us to see the microbes living on our skin as part of our natural and unique ecosystem -- our skin microbiome -- the microorganisms that live in the biological environment of our bodies. But, little is known about the scalp microbiome and its role in hair loss. Our resent research study has found many different microbial species on regions of the scalp with hair loss compared to those with hair. By sampling more scalps and microbes, we can determine which microbes are beneficial or harmful, how hair loss occurs, and what defines a healthy scalp with strong hair. This could lead to better hair loss reversal treatments. But, we can only do this with your help. All you have to do is select the appropriate monetary contribution based on your needs, sign the consent and fill out the questionnaire. You will receive a sample kit in the mail within a week and that will allow us to issue a personalized report about your scalp microbiome and how it compares to others in the study. Your participation will also help us to:
- learn about beneficial products, understand hair loss through the scalp microbiome;
- discover probiotics for healthy hair growth;
- predict effective treatments;
- and, detect early hair loss.
We need YOU to help us understand hair loss through the microbiome.
The S.A.S.I.E. Sampling Process:
(Scientific Analysis of the Scalp and Individualized Evaluation)
- Choose the swabbing kit that's right for you.
- Check your email to receive the link to the online questionnaire and consent.
- Your sample kit will arrive within one week after the online forms are completed.
- Swab your scalp and send everything back to us in the pre-addressed bag.
- Your personalized report will arrive via email within a month of receipt of your sample.
What You Get:
Information about your scalp microbiome will be provided to you in a report. Your samples will be compared to others in our database and you will obtain a healthy scalp assessment. Below are examples of what you will receive.
- The information you will receive is neither a medical diagnosis of your scalp nor a recommendation for treatment or lifestyle changes. If you have concerns based on your results, please consult a qualified hair and scalp professional.
- Research and analysis produced by S.O.S. falls under the category of human subjects’ research. As such, ethical principles and guidelines must be adhered to, according to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Data from this work will be used to further understand hair and scalp health and will likely be a part of greater research initiatives. This requires that all procedures in collecting information are approved and overseen by an Institutional Review Board which is consistent with past experimental protocols. The research is currently overseen by an institutional review board at The University of Chicago.
- Your privacy is protected. All participant information is de-identified after receipt of questionnaires, consent forms and samples. These records will be kept for one year after study completion and will be subsequently destroyed according to research guidelines.
Who We Are:
The project is led by Ms. Imani Porter, a student scientist who has collaborated with mentors at Argonne National Laboratory and The University of Chicago for the last three years. In 2015, Imani conducted gut microbiome research on dogs to understand the how food types related to their health and won a gold medal in the regional ACT-SO competition. In 2016, she extended her work to understand how microbes on the scalp play a role in hair loss and explained the significance of the science to become a finalist in the Marvel’s Doctor Strange STEM Challenge, a nation-wide competition for high school girls. Based on results from her recent scientific study, which shows individuals that exhibit hair loss have a unique bacterial profile compared to those who don’t, she was inspired to inform the public of her findings and create a platform for others to learn about their scalp health.