Frequently Asked Questions

Pitt+Me Discovery is a local precision medicine research program run by the University of Pittsburgh. It is a collection of biological samples and health information from people in the region who have decided to join. Information gathered by Pitt+Me Discovery will be a resource for Pitt and UPMC researchers to advance research around precision medicine.
Precision medicine is the practice of health care based on the individual patient. Precision medicine considers factors like your genetics (DNA), family history, and the environment where you live and work to create personalized prevention and treatment plans. The goal of precision medicine is to make healthcare specific for each unique patient.
Anyone age 18 and up with a UPMC medical record may sign up for Pitt+Me Discovery. We aim to enroll as many UPMC patients as possible.
People who want to join Pitt+Me Discovery are first asked to read and sign a consent form outlining what is involved in participation. They are then asked to give a sample of blood or saliva, allow secure access to their electronic health record, and agree to be contacted in the future by the study team for more information and with updates about the research program.
Samples collected through Pitt+Me Discovery will undergo genetic testing in a Pitt or UPMC laboratory for research. Results from this test are then combined with information from the electronic health record to create a research database. Researchers can study this information to better understand how DNA affects health and response to medications, and to try to find new ways to predict, prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases. Samples may undergo other types of testing in the future, including whole genome sequencing, which is mapping out a person’s entire genetic code.
People who join Pitt+Me Discovery contribute to the advancement of science and the practice of precision medicine. They get to be a part of a local research program that will help researchers better understand how DNA affects health. This knowledge may lead to advancements and improvements in healthcare, and will likely impact health in our region and the health of future generations.
There may be no direct benefit to participating in Pitt+Me Discovery.

It is possible that some results from the research may help participants and their healthcare providers better understand how their DNA affects their response to medications. Participants in Pitt+Me Discovery have the option to have certain potential results returned through their electronic health record (EHR). The type of information that may be returned is related to how DNA might affect response to medication. For example, there are medications that work well for some individuals, while the same medications may cause a bad reaction in others, based on a person’s DNA. This is called “pharmacogenomics.”

Having this additional information may help healthcare providers when making decisions about a person’s healthcare and treatments. Agreeing to have this information placed in the UPMC EHR is not a requirement for joining the study.
The Pitt+Me Discovery team is working with UPMC to develop this process. Timing will depend on the return process being developed at UPMC. It is possible that results may not be placed in the electronic health record.
The study team will access past, present, and future health record information from its participants for research for as long as they are participating in the study.
Risks associated with participation are minimal. If you have a blood sample taken, you may experience discomfort, bleeding, bruising, feeling lightheaded, and rarely, fainting, or infection at the site of the blood draw. There is a very small risk that personal information, including your genetic information, may be accidentally shared with people not involved with this study. Pitt+Me Discovery has safeguards in place to minimize the chance of this happening.
Pitt+Me Discovery takes data security seriously and has safeguards in place to make sure that its participants’ are protected. Samples and information are stored in secure facilities and databases managed by the study team. Only people involved in conducting the study and with appropriate permissions will have access. Researchers outside of Pitt+Me Discovery will only be given samples and data if they have the necessary approvals. They will not receive information that could identify participants (such as your name) without permission.
For people who choose to join the study, participation will be indefinite. We expect Pitt+Me Discovery to last for many years. Joining is voluntary, and participants always have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.
Call us at 412-648-7039 or send email to
To find out about other research studies at Pitt, visit the website at Pitt+Me is also run by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh. Although they are sister projects, the programs are separate. While Pitt+Me Discovery is a precision medicine research program, Pitt+Me is a research registry of people who have signed up to hear more about research studies being conducted in our region. To learn more about Pitt+Me and the studies it offers, call 1-866-438-8230 or visit