Whether you are an elite athlete or simply interested in the science of peak athletic performance, we welcome you to get involved with our research efforts. 

Help us reach our goal of 10,000 participants!

Similar to other genetic studies, the ELITE Study at Stanford requires a large sample size to statistically power the enormous size of the human genome. Thus, collaborators, athletes, and sports enthusiasts must come together to achieve the goals of the ELITE Study and help accelerate high-impact advances in human performance. The research brings together individuals from across the world to discover and apply the fundamentals of peak performance to human health and well-being.

Our research efforts will lead to a deeper understanding of performance for all. It will inform targeted training regimens for aspiring athletes based on their genetic profiles, and can optimize interventions for specific performance improvements. The findings from this study can also contribute to the development of precision exercise health.

If you are an endurance athlete looking to participate in the ELITE Study, you can do so today by filling out our secure REDCap forms. And if you’re a researcher looking to collaborate with us on the ELITE Study, reach out to either Brianna Bourne at or Maléne Lindholm at to express your interest in joining the ELITE Study research team.

Enroll in the study

NOTE: You do NOT need to come to Stanford to participate in the ELITE Study. You can participate entirely from wherever you are in the world by filling out the online REDCap survey and providing a saliva sample (using the collection kit we will mail you).

We seek individuals with extremely high maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), defined as >65 ml/kg/min for men and >55 ml/kg/min for women. VO2max values can either be results from a maximal test conducted in an exercise testing facility or estimates from an activity tracker (e.g. Garmin, Apple, etc.). We are recruiting athletes from all over the globe who are successful in endurance sports (such as running, nordic skiing, triathlon, cycling, rowing).

For you as a participant, we will ask you to read and sign a consent form, provide a saliva sample and answer questionnaires regarding basic information (such as height, weight, VO2max and health status). NOTE: All questionnaire responses are stored on secure, encrypted servers to which only HIPAA-certified study researchers have access, and all analyses are conducted using deidentified data. Samples are deidentified and stored in a secure location. 

Once you have participated, help us with recruitment by spreading the word, especially via social media if possible. Our accounts are linked here: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and on the side menu linked above. Learn how to apply the ELITE brand to your posts here:

Enroll now!



Join as a research collaborator

We welcome all enthusiastic researchers to join us on this scientific endeavor! In order to power this genetic study, we need a large sample size and have set a goal of 10,000 athletes, which requires recruitment from sites both within the US and internationally. At its most basic level, your collaboration with us would consist of recruiting participants to be a part of the ELITE study. We will provide you with materials to help promote the study. We hope that you partake in the research at whatever level of involvement suits you best–whether that be recontacting athletes you have previously tested for VO2max and who you know have attained our threshold levels, contacting athletes you think might qualify, promoting the study to athletes who come into your lab and attain our threshold VO2max levels, using social media to promote the study, or posting flyers advertising the study in spaces you think qualifying athletes might see them.

We hope you decide to collaborate with us. If wish to join us in this research, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact our project manager, Maléne Lindholm, at or our clinical research coordinator, Brianna Bourne at

Community Outreach

Not a researcher but still interested in getting involved with the ELITE Study? We need your help with this research! There are many ways you can get involved and assist us with recruitment for this study:

  1. Spread the word to anyone you know who might qualify to enroll in the study, whether that be your teams, clubs, workout groups, past and present.
  2. Connect with us and promote the Study via social media. Our accounts are linked here: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and on the side menu linked above. Learn how to apply the ELITE brand to your posts here:
  3. Let us support you! We are happy to support you and your community however we can, whether that means discussing the study with you, or helping you gain access to VO2max tests if you have not yet been tested.

If you are interested in getting your community involved in the study, please contact our Clinical Research Coordinator, Brianna Bourne at

The ELITE Study can allow us to better tease apart the molecular mechanisms through which exercise exerts its beneficial effects. The study has the potential to unravel the complex pathways that underlie the protective effects of endurance exercise and to identify molecular targets for intervention, hence improving the quality and quantity of life of people around the world.

Get Engaged

We invite faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends, and external organizations to participate in the ELITE Study at Stanford.

Learn More