Hero image with Pittsburgh background pittplusme.org/study/1412

Pitt+Me Brief Stresses Study


Are you a healthy African American adult aged 20-59? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study to help learn more about the impact of stress on DNA damage and repair. Compensation provided.


Most people experience stress from time to time due to concerns about family, health, relationships, or work. Some research suggests that stress can damage a person’s DNA—the material in each cell that allows the body to function. Although the body is typically able to repair DNA damage, repeated occurrences of DNA damage and repair may increase a person’s risk for developing certain health problems over time.

The purpose of this study is to better understand the impact of brief stress on DNA damage and repair. Researchers also want to find out if physical, lifestyle, and behavioral factors are related to differences in stress responses, and if those responses can be changed by taking a single dose of a commonly-used high blood pressure medication called propranolol. Researchers hope their findings may lead to new ways to prevent DNA damage in the future.


•    Ages 20-59
•    African American
•    Weigh at least 110 pounds
•    Have not used illicit drugs, smoked cigarettes, or used other nicotine-containing products in the past month
•    Have never been diagnosed with cancer (other than basal cell skin cancer), COPD, heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis (MS), or severe traumatic brain injury
•    Not currently diagnosed with asthma, diabetes, major depression, bipolar depression, an anxiety disorder, or schizophrenia
•    If female, have not been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 3 months, have regular menstrual periods (21-35 days) or are post-menopausal, and are not taking any medications that prevent you from having monthly menstrual cycles (birth control shot, IUD, “seasonal” birth control)


Participation involves an initial phone call to find out if you may be eligible to participate in the study. If eligible after the telephone call, you will be scheduled for a screening visit that will include a brief health assessment, urine tests, blood work, and a set of psychological interviews. Participants who are still eligible after the screening visit will complete several questionnaires and attend two more study visits. During the study visits, participants will complete additional questionnaires, provide blood and saliva samples, and complete tasks. At the first visit, participants will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to receive either a single dose of propranolol (a beta blocker commonly used to treat high blood pressure) or placebo (an inactive medication).

  STUDY19040308 - Brief stresses and DNA integrity: An experimental analysis

  Healthy Volunteer

Age Range
AGE:   20 - 59

Duration DURATION:  Up to 6 months
VISITS:  3 visits

Location LOCATION: 
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – Oakland
Compensation COMPENSATION: 
Up to $205 + parking/ travel reimbursement
Phone Number PHONE NUMBER:
Printer Printer   Email A FriendEmail A Friend   FacebookFacebook   TwitterTwitter   Linked-InLinked-In
Search Icon pittplusme.org/study/1412
Phone Number PHONE NUMBER:


Dana H. Bovbjerg

Dana H. Bovbjerg, PhD, is the Director of the Biobehavioral Oncology Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Bovbjerg’s research focuses on biobehavioral factors in cancer, and includes studies of biobehavioral factors in cancer risk, response to treatment, and progression of disease. Dr. Bovbjerg received a doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa.

PittPlusMe.org 1-866-438-8230 PittPlusMe@pitt.edu
@PittPlusMe facebook twitter


This website is maintained by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
© Copyright 2018, University of Pittsburgh. All rights reserved.