Registries and resources

Each CARA Core registry is unique in its constitution, purpose and available resources. Below is an overview of the CARA Core registries as well as resources available to our collaborators.

Registries at a glance

Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR): VCU is home to the largest twin registry in the United States- the Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR pronounced “matter”). The MATR began in the 1970s with the vision to create a population-based registry of twins/multiples and their family members who were willing to participate in health-related research studies. Twin studies provide researchers with a variety of unique analyses to disentangle genetic and environmental factors that contribute to human health and disease. 

  • Participants: The MATR currently has over 55,000 registered twins (18,000 adult pairs) available for research.  
  • Datasets: Health and behavioral datasets from subsets of registrants.
  • DNA repository: Extracted DNA from blood samples provided by twins.

Spit for Science: The VCU Student Survey and Registry (S4S): Spit for Science was initiated in 2011 with the goal of creating a resource for researchers to learn more about the genetic and environmental factors influencing substance use and mental health outcomes in the college-age population. Today, S4S is the largest study of its kind.

  • Participants: Over 13,000 registry participants.
  • Datasets: Longitudinal phenotypic data collected from all participants.
  • DNA: Genotypic data from the majority of registrants - genotyped.
  • Institute for Research on Behavioral and Emotional Health (IRBEH): IRBEH supports researchers and trainees working with the S4S data by facilitating collaborative data analysis through myriad working groups, promoting transdisciplinary research, grant writing and mentoring of students and trainees carrying out projects with the S4S data.


Each CARA Core registry provides resources to foster an interdisciplinary, collaborative ecosystem that connects our collaborators with new colleagues and maximizes utility and accessibility of our registries. In order to do so, each registry provides the following resources:

  • Research interest meetings: Our registry directors hold monthly meetings open during the academic year for our collaborators to present their findings, to hear about registry research projects and to meet colleagues with similar interests.
  • Working groups: Investigators with similar interests are encouraged to form working groups, with the goal of facilitating data analysis and manuscript development.
  • Researcher newsletter: We keep our collaborators up to date on registry resources, events, interest meetings and accomplishments through monthly newsletters.
  • Data analysis: We aim to ensure our collaborators have the tools they need to analyze the data from our registries, including support for more complex needs for twin data, genetics and longitudinal analysis. Our data needs to be accessible across disciplines and we provide the data analysis expertise to ensure this is possible.
  • Consultation: Each registry supplies unique resources related to its mission, goals and population. We encourage investigators to peruse the registry websites for information and contact us to discover ways in which our registries can support your research goals.