fbpx Research Studies Looking for Participants | The Marfan Foundation

Research Studies Looking for Participants


Genetic Testing Research Study:

The Genomic Services Research Program (GSRP) is a study of people with "secondary results” from genetic testing. Secondary results are unexpected. They are not related to the reason the person had the genetic test but are shared because they may be very important to the person’s health. Most secondary results have to do with high risks for health problems that can be treated or prevented. Many of these results are related to cancer risk and heart conditions. If you think you have received a secondary result, you may be eligible to join this study.

The purpose of this study is to learn about how people react to their secondary result and the actions they take after learning this information. If you or a member of your family have been given a secondary result, please consider partnering with us on this research. Together we hope to understand the health impacts of secondary results on you and your family and discover ways to better support people like you.

What is involved in for people who join?

If you join the study, the first phase is a survey and phone interview. We will ask you about any changes you made to your healthcare based on the result. We will also ask if there were recommendations you did not follow and why. Finally, we will ask questions about sharing the result with your family members. Following the interview you may be invited to the second phase of the study, which could include extra testing for you and/or your family members at the NIH or in your area. Participating in this study and having testing done at the NIH is free. If we ask you to come to the NIH, and you live in the United States, we will pay for your travel and a hotel.

• Must speak English or Spanish
• Must have received a genetic testing result related to cancer risk or heart disease even though they were not having genetic testing to get information about this condition.

For more information, please visit: https://www.genome.gov/Current-NHGRI-Clinical-Studies/Genomic-Services-Research-Program


Participants Needed For Neonatal Marfan Syndrome Study

Who is eligible?

Individuals with a diagnosis of neonatal Marfan syndrome

What is neonatal Marfan syndrome?

  • Severe presentation of Marfan syndrome that is evident at birth or infancy
  • Absent family history
  • Pulmonary or lung complications present at birth or in infancy
  • Cardiac valve disease / dysfunction or other congenital heart defects
  • FBN1 gene mutation in a specific region (exons 24-32)

Participation involves:

  • Completing a food diary online for you or your child
  • Depositing your medical records into The Marfan Foundation’s Backpack Health
  • Providing a sample of blood
  • No travel required


Alana Cecchi, MS, CGC
MAC@uth.tmc.edu (preferred)
Research being conducted at:
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator

Marfan Sleep Research Study

Researchers at Johns Hopkins are looking for people with Marfan syndrome who might be interested in participating in a research study that looks at how sleep apnea and snoring may affect cardiovascular health. The first step is to complete this screening questionnaire. Selected individuals will be contacted for further evaluation at Johns Hopkins. The trip will be scheduled and covered by the researchers and you will be compensated as well.

Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS) Research Collaborative Study

The vEDS Collaborative is dedicated to supporting the Vascular Ehlers-Danlos community in driving patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) to improve the management of vEDS and increase the quality of life for people impacted by vEDS.

As part of the vEDS Collaborative, the University of Washington is conducting a natural history study to define the contribution of known vEDS gene mutations to vEDS complications and outcomes. The researchers are seeking individuals 18 years of age or older with molecular confirmation of Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (i.e., diagnosis through genetic testing results or skin biopsy results) who are willing to share their medical records and radiologic imaging to support a natural history study where the course of vEDS can be followed.

The hope is that this work will lead to treatment guidelines based on the underlying gene mutation and the discovery and/or creation of novel medical practices, diagnostic tools, protective therapies and medicines for the future that will prevent and/or cure the complications of vEDS.

More information about the study is available online. If you are interested in taking part in the study or would like more information, please contact the study team at (206) 353-3076 or vedscoll@uw.edu.

Pregnancy and Cardiac Disease Research

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are participating in the Registry on Pregnancy and Cardiac Disease (ROPAC), a worldwide project of the European Society of Cardiology. They are currently enrolling any women who became pregnant any time after December 2017 and who have, or have had, one of the following heart or blood vessel problems:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Heart valve replacement surgery
  • Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, or another condition that can cause aortic aneurysms or dissections

If you meet these criteria, you may be eligible for the study.  Enrollment takes only minutes and your contribution will provide lasting benefits to other women who have potentially fatal conditions. If you would like additional information or if you would like to enroll, please call the ROPAC study team at 713-500-6704.

Cardiac MRI Flow Characterization for Aortic Aneurysms

Aortic aneurysm surgery is often used to treat people with Marfan syndrome and other conditions that enlarge (dilate) the aorta. Aneurysm surgery can be life-saving, but some people can again develop aortic enlargement late after initial surgery.

This research will use new imaging (magnetic resonance) techniques to examine impact of surgical grafting on aortic shape and blood flow. Participation in this study involves an MRI exam before your aortic graft surgery. When/if you undergo surgery, we will ask to use aortic tissue obtained (that would otherwise be discarded) to compare MRI findings to actual tissue features. After your surgery, we will ask you to return for another MRI about six months following your procedure.

MRI exams will take place at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Our research team will work with you to schedule your study visits on days and times that are convenient for you. If not ordered for clinical purposes by your doctor, your MRI exams will be paid for by the research study and will be of no cost to you.

You may be eligible for this study if you:

  • Have Marfan syndrome or another condition in which your aorta is dilated (enlarged)
  • Are being considered for or have undergone aortic graft surgery

You aren’t eligible if you:

  • Can’t have an MRI because you have a pacemaker, defibrillator, or other contraindication
  • Are very claustrophobic (have a fear of small spaces)
  • Are pregnant (at time of MRI)

The Cornell research team includes leading investigators with expertise in cardiac imaging, cardiothoracic surgery, biomedical engineering, and clinical outcomes research. Dr. Jonathan Weinsaft (Director, Cornell Cardiac MRI program), the leader of this study, is an expert in the field of cardiac MRI and aortic imaging.


To learn more about this study, please contact the research team by e-mail at jww2001@med.cornell.edu or by phone at (212) 746-2627. Study team members are available to answer any questions you may have regarding research participation.

Evaluation of an Imaging Biomarker in Children and Young Adults with Aortopathy

Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine are doing a study entitled “Evaluation of an Imaging Biomarker in Children and Young Adults.” These investigators will measure and observe an imaging biomarker overtime which may help predict risk of dilation and changes in the aorta.

You can participate in the study if you:

  • Have Loeys-Dietz Syndrome or vascular Ehlers Danlos
  • Have undergone at least 1 either MRA or CTA that is available for review, AND that study was performed younger than age 50 years

Participation involves:

  • About 2-3 hours of study procedures at Texas Children’s Hospital.
  • A blood test (taking around 1 tablespoon of blood)
  • An EndoPAT Test (a blood pressure cuff will be inflated on your arm for 5 minutes and then released to measure how well the lining of your blood vessels widen and narrow)
  • A Tonometry (measures pulse at your neck and groin to see how long it takes to travel from your heart to the leg)
  • A consult to confirm your eligibility
  • An echocardiogram of your heart and blood vessels
  • Follow-up visits every two years to complete a 10-year follow-up period
  • Alternatively, patients can enroll without the study visit and just have medical records review


  • Your participation may help improve evidence based clinical guidelines for the management of different aortopathies.
  • $13 compensation for parking for those who participate in person will be included in your participation.

To learn more, contact contact Sara Stephens, sxsteph1@texaschildrens.org, or 832-826-5613

Pregnancy in Connective Tissue Disorders Study

What: Dr. Melissa Russo, Dr. Jennifer Pardo Habashi, and their team at Johns Hopkins University are interested in obtaining more information on pregnancy outcomes in women with connective tissue disorders, including Marfan syndrome and Loeys-Dietz syndrome. Their project, entitled “Pregnancy in Connective Tissue Disorders,” features a questionnaire about pregnancy outcomes in women with these syndromes and their cardiovascular (heart-related) complications.

Who: Women with Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, or vascular Ehelers Danlos syndrome (vEDS) who have had pregnancies, as well as family members of women with Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz, or vascular Ehlers Danlos syndrome (vEDS) who may have passed away during or post-pregnancy. It’s important to have information from women and family members with a range of experiences, from successful to complicated pregnancies.

The questionnaire: The questions ask how you got your diagnosis of a connective tissue disorder, your medications and imaging, and the management of the pregnancy in relation to your connective tissue disorder. The survey will take between 20-60 minutes depending on the number of pregnancies. It may be appropriate to have your medical history available while filling out the survey since you cannot save the survey for completion at another time.

Why: Your participation will help us learn about pregnancy in women with these syndromes, an area in which there is still very little information in the medical literature.

How: Here is the link to complete the “Pregnancy in Connective Tissue Disorders” Questionnaire: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CTDpregnancy. By completing and submitting the questionnaire, you are consenting to participating in the study. Additionally, if you are not a patient at Johns Hopkins, we will request that you provide the research team with copies of your medical records that verify your diagnosis and summary of medical care if you had a cardiovascular or obstetrical complication during a pregnancy. If you have questions and want to talk with a study team member prior to filling out the survey, please email (CTDpregnancy@jhmi.edu).

Thank you for your consideration and support in trying to make further inroads into the understanding of connective tissue disorders. JHM eIRB Study Number: NA_00086443

Research on Post-Operative Outcomes of ACL Reconstruction

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is currently investigating post-operative outcomes of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in people with Marfan syndrome. More specifically, we are interested in studying rates of ACL re-rupture, results of laxity testing, lengths of rehabilitation times, and past/current functional status.

Very little attention has been given to this type of surgery and its outcomes in people with Marfan syndrome. As ACL repair is a relatively common procedure, this study will help inform our treatment approach for this injury and the practices that best lead to successful rehabilitation and mobility following surgery. If you have suffered an ACL injury requiring surgery once or multiple times, please consider being part of this study.

Participant Eligibility:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Undergone at least one ACL repair, regardless of date of surgery or type of reconstruction

This study will require participants to either send us relevant medical and surgical records or allow us to retrieve them from the healthcare institution, as well as complete two online questionnaires that collectively take less than 25 minutes to complete.

To obtain more information about this clinical study or to enroll, please contact Brian Sullivan at bsulli17@jhmi.edu.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Dissection Study

Doctors and scientists have only identified about 25 percent of the genes that cause aortic aneurysms and acute aortic dissections that are inherited in families. Studies are now looking at the role of genetics in patients who have had an aortic dissection, with or without a family history.

Dianna Milewicz, MD, PhD, Director of the John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, is an internationally recognized expert in the genetics of aortic and vascular diseases. She is working with a team of clinicians, scientists, and genetic counselors in a number of ongoing research studies. These research studies aim to learn more about the genes that predispose people to thoracic aortic aneurysms and acute aortic dissections. Further identification of the genes that cause people to have these conditions will increase our ability to identify who is at risk and provide information on how to better diagnose and manage aortic and vascular diseases.

If you have been diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection, or have a family member with this condition, and no one in your family has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, please consider taking part in this research study.

To learn more about the research and how to enroll, please contact the genetic counselor involved in the study at info@johnritterresearchprogram.org. The genetic counselor will explain the study to you, review your family history, and help you enroll in the research study for which you qualify.