Thank you for asking about our research protocols. For a general overview of how the research at the Dog Aging Project will proceed, please read the post entitled, I’ve nominated my dog. Now what? on our blog. The research conducted by the Dog Aging Project is complex and consists of many distinct lines of scientific inquiry. Each unique part of the overall research design has its own protocols for data and sample collection, storage, and statistical analysis.
For example, we may ask a subset of dog owners to collect a stool sample from their dog. These owners would receive a collection kit from us as well as detailed instructions for how to collect the sample and send it to us. Once we receive the sample, we store it under specific conditions (such as precise temperature) and analyze it using very specific research techniques (such as microscopy). The research protocols specific to each portion of the overall research have been developed over ten years of planning, using proven, state-of-the-art techniques.
Because of the sheer complexity and vast scope of the research being conducted at the Dog Aging Project, there are literally hundreds of detailed protocols and more under continuous development. Everything that we do is guided by the animal care and welfare requirements of our academic institutions, which we satisfy the at the highest level. Dog safety is paramount! Participants in the Dog Aging Project will receive information about the research protocols specific to the studies that their dog is a part of. All of our anonymized data will be publicly available, and as we publish our results in the scientific literature, participants will have the opportunity to see our protocols in the context of each study.