Category Archives: About

Research Assistant

Shelby Tarutis, MPH, 425-405-1766

Shelby Tarutis studied biochemistry and literature at The Evergreen State College (BS, 1976) and received her Master of Public Health in Health Services from the University of Washington (1996).  She received a Certificate in Executive Development from the UW Foster School of Business (2018).  She has experience with coordinating research studies, managing data collection and planning budgets for grant applications.  For over 25 years, she obtained grant funding and coordinated village development projects in The Gambia, West Africa.  In her spare time, she volunteers with Gambia Health Education Liaison Project, a locally based non-profit.

Assistant Director

Elizabeth Blue, PhD, 206-685-4666

July2014Dr. Blue studied Economics and Anthropology at Indiana University (BS, 2003), and Anthropology at the University of Utah (MS, 2005; Ph.D., 2008). Her graduate work focused on the principles of evolutionary and population genetics. She pursued training in statistical genetics as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington (2008). She joined the faculty at the University of Washington in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics (2011). She has been the chair of the Young Investigators committee of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society since 2013, joined the Statistical Genetics Program faculty in 2014, and the Institute of Public Health Genomics faculty in 2015. Dr. Blue’s research focuses on identifying genetic variants influencing complex traits, such as Alzheimer Disease and autism spectrum disorder. Her recent work has delved into the complexities of Mendelian traits as well, including oculocutaneous albinism, familial idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and others.


Glen Duncan, PhD

Duncan-GlenDr. Duncan’s academic training is in physical education (BS, 1992, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania) and exercise physiology (MS, 1994, Ball State University; PhD, 1997, University of Tennessee). Following graduate school, he completed postdoctoral research training (1998-2002) and then joined the faculty at the University of Florida (2002-2003), both in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He joined the Core Faculty of the Nutritional Sciences Program, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington in July 2003. In June 2015, he accepted a position as Professor in the newly established Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and Chair of the Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program at Washington State University – Health Sciences Spokane, where the Washington State Twin Registry is administratively housed. His major focus is related to macro-level influences (built environment, social environment, policies) on physical activity, nutrition, and chronic disease within an ecological framework.


Scientific Operations Manager

Ally Avery, MS, 425-405-1765

ally_avery_lthumbMs. Avery studied sociology at Western Washington University (BA, 2009) and received her Master of Science in Data Science from Northwestern University (2016). She has experience with all aspects of twin studies, including grant, budget, and protocol development, building and maintaining study databases, data collection, and data analysis.



2019 Review

Not only is it the end of 2019, it’s also the end of a decade of incredible growth for the Washington State Twin Registry (formerly the University of Washington Twin Registry). Below we summarize some highlights of the past 10 years, as well as the past year.

Have you participated in one of our studies? We recently updated our completed studies page with links to the published findings from each study.

Decade in Review

On September 30, 2009, the University of Washington Twin Registry was awarded a large economic recovery grant which provided funding to increase the size of the Registry and available data. Over the past decade, the Registry has nearly tripled in size, adding over 6,000 new pairs of twins. In 2013, we modified our procedures to allow volunteers and twin children to join. In 2014, we held our first TwinFest event at the University of Washington. In 2015, the Registry moved from the University of Washington to Washington State University and became the Washington State Twin Registry (WSTR). Today, there are 9,761 twin pairs in the WSTR — 8,980 pairs are still actively participating. Our members reside in all 50 US states plus the District of Columbia, and around the world.

Year in Review

In 2019, we added 198 new pairs of twins. We had 6 active studies, and 1,407 unique twin pairs participated in those studies. 14 peer-reviewed publications were accepted. Our website had 171,537 visits from 151,838 users, and our Facebook page has 1,329 likes. We held a small get together at WSU Everett in June, which gave local twins the opportunity to meet other twins and learn about our research.

Coming in 2020!

Our second TwinFest event will be held August 8, 2020 in Everett, Washington. As we have updates, they will be posted on our website and on the Facebook event page. If you and/or your business would be interested in contributing, please send an email to Ally Avery.

As always, thank you for your continued support of and participation
in the Washington State Twin Registry!