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Insights into Microbiome and Environmental Contributions
to Sickle Cell Disease and Leg Ulcers

INSIGHTS logo, health professionals with patients


The INSIGHTS study is exploring sickle cell disease in adults. We hope to gain "insight" into this complex disease by looking at many factors, including genomic, microbial, physical and social influences. A goal of this study is to learn how these factors influence the onset and development of sickle cell leg ulcers. While leg ulcers are a primary focus of this study, we are investigating the disease as a whole and studying the wide range of complications that sickle cell patients experience.  

We plan to enroll 300 participants in the study and are currently recruiting volunteers!

Each study participant will have a clinical visit that will include a medical and family history, physical exam, bloodwork and a survey obtaining data on environmental and psychosocial questions important in health. Some participants will have their skin microbiome tested for bacteria and fungi. 

A key component of the study is understanding the role of stress in sickle cell disease. We will measure biomarkers for stress from blood and hair, and collect self-reported experiences with stress. Participants with leg ulcers will receive standardized wound care during the visit. Insights Into Microbiome and Environmental Contributions to Sickle Cell Disease and Leg Ulcers Study (INSIGHTS Study)

Study BrochurePDF file

If you would like to participate in the Insights study, please call the team at 301-451-3997 or email us at

Additional Resource

Learning About Sickle Cell Disease

Principal Investigator

Vence L. Bonham, J.D.
Social and Behvioral Research Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health

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Last Updated: June 29, 2016