UAH researchers seek participants for the Inner Defense Initiative

UAH researchers seek participants for the Inner Defense Initiative
Understanding biological markers of PTSD

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Approximately 8 million adults suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during a given year.

PTSD often occurs after an individual has experienced trauma, but can affect anyone at any age including war veterans, children, and sexual assault victims.

At the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), researchers are actively seeking participants to take part in the Inner Defense Initiative, a PTSD research effort led by biology professor Dr. Joe Ng.

This project came in the aftermath of the 2010 UAH shooting.

Dr. Ng, a survivor of the tragedy, noticed that each of the survivors responded and coped differently.

It was clear that everyone involved had been changed by the event, but as a scientist, he wondered why some were more resilient than others.

In collaboration with the non-profit Little Orange Fish, Ng found that there are four RNA markers present in 90 percent of people screened for PTSD.

In other words, an individual’s likelihood of suffering from PTSD could be predicted.

Ultimately, researchers found that the effects of trauma are much more than psychological, and that there are biological markers involved.

These markers can lead to the creation of a clinical screening tool.

Daniel Adamek, a collaborator on this initiative says the research can be life changing for millions of people, especially for our service men and women who suffer from PTSD at high rates.

“First and foremost it’s a research effort to try and understand the biological basis of post traumatic stress disorder. And then there is the aspect of the awareness part. This is a very important topic that affects millions of Americans and we see a high prevalence of it from military members.”

At this point, UAH researchers need volunteers in order to continue collecting scientific evidence.

Participants will provide a small sample of blood, a cheak swab, and will complete a short survey.

Participation is anonymous.

For more information about this research initiative and how to participate, you can visit

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.