Spit for Science

A woman holding a vial.

Help local researchers advance science

Participate in studies led by local researchers with Research Live! during your visit to the Science Centre. Contribute to advancements in science and technology while learning about topics ranging from genetics to cognitive development. Your data can make a difference!

Information for Researchers:
Do you need volunteers for an engaging study? Are you interested in advancing the public’s understanding of research? With nearly a million visitors a year, we’ve connected scientists with thousands of participants through our Research Live! program. We’ll work with you to create an informative, engaging experience for participants.

Spit for Science

Your DNA can help us make a healthier world

Contribute to an important study by SickKids researchers. Become one of our 30,000 Junior Scientists participating in this fun and interactive research project on genetics. 

Your genes and the environment around you help to shape your mental and physical health. SickKids researchers want to learn more—and you can help them!

Junior Scientists and their parents answer questions about behaviour (the way you act), physical health and well-being. Kids and teens also play a computer game to give researchers information about cognition (the way you think).

Then, SickKids researchers collect a saliva sample in a small tube from the kids and teens to take a look at their DNA. It’s quick and easy! 

Participation Criteria: Participants must be between the ages of 6 and 17. Parent participation is also required. Children and parents must have proficiency in English sufficient to answer questions about behaviour, health and well-being.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

SickKids staff will follow the health and safety requirements outlined by the Hospital for Sick Children. These requirements include:

  • All staff members will wear masks. Staff members at the kit collection station will wear a mask, full-face visor and gloves.
  • A maximum of four families (or four children) can participate at any one time. Additional family members are encouraged to use physically-distanced seating in or near the exhibit.
  • All equipment will be sterilized with antiseptic wipes before each use. Staff and families will sterilize their hands with hand sanitizer before touching any equipment.
  • Participants will give their DNA sample while within a 3-sided plexiglass cubicle or wear a full-face visor to prevent the spray of droplets. The cubicle will be available for children with sensory issues who may not be comfortable wearing a visor. Each cubicle and face visor will be sterilized after use.
  • Spit kits will be in the cubicle when the child enters and the child will leave the kit in the cubicle for the staff to retrieve afterwards. Kits will be sterilized with antiseptic wipes.