Category Archives: study information

Social Determinants of Health

Data+ and Duke CTSI TransPop have launched Social Determinants of Health in Kannapolis, North Carolina, an initiative to bring together data that will facilitate research using social determinants of health to examine and understand health disparities. A team of seven students led by faculty are building a database of publicly available data sources in Kannapolis and Cabarrus County. MURDOCK Study investigators will be able to tap into that data, adding richness and depth to the biorepository.

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Duke launches second enrollment location for Project Baseline study

With a study watch on her wrist and a sleep sensor in her new tote bag, a Caucasian woman in her 40s walked out of the Duke University Medical Center around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13 as the first participant enrolled in the Project Baseline study in Durham.

Simultaneously, Duke’s Project Baseline study team in Kannapolis, North Carolina enrolled their third participant, bringing Duke’s total enrollment to four since June 29. A day-and-a-half-long process that includes multiple health tests and donations of blood, urine, saliva, tears, and other biospecimens, enrollment will continue ramping up this summer at both the Durham and Kannapolis locations, reaching full capacity this fall.

Continue reading Duke launches second enrollment location for Project Baseline study

New Gene Interaction Appears to be Associated with Increased MS Risk

A person carrying variants of two particular genes could be almost three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis, according to the latest findings from scientists at Duke Health and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.


The research used biological samples from the MURDOCK MS Study. The finding, published in the March 23 issue of the journal Cell, could open the way for new tests to identify people who are at greatest risk of MS and autoimmune disorders, as well as the development of novel drugs, the researchers said.
Continue reading New Gene Interaction Appears to be Associated with Increased MS Risk

Meet the Team

MURDOCK Study Leadership

Study Investigators

Current Investigators
Legacy Investigators

Study Staff

Clinical Operations
 Community Engagement & Administration
Data Management & Informatics


Frequently Asked Questions the MURDOCK Study

  • What is the MURDOCK Study?

The MURDOCK Study, which stands for Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease Of Cabarrus/Kannapolis, is a long-term health study designed and led by Duke University and based locally in Cabarrus County, Kannapolis and the surrounding region in North Carolina. By collecting health information and biological samples—3 tablespoons of blood and 3 tablespoons of urine—from volunteers, Duke researchers and their partners hope to improve the way diseases are diagnosed, treated, and potentially prevented and cured.

  • How many people are enrolled?

We have enrolled more than 12,400 local adults into the MURDOCK Study. Some have specific diseases and others are healthy; both are equally important as we use information from our participants to determine patterns in disease development and progression.

  • What are some of the diseases being studied? 

Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, osteoarthritis, obesity, severe acne, multiple sclerosis, memory disorders, and others to come.

  • What have we asked of our participants?
  1. Those who agreed to enroll were asked to come to one of our many enrollment sites for a 45 minute visit.
  2. Enrollees reviewed and signed our consent form with a you will trained Clinical Research Coordinators.
  3. Next, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire to include basic information such as name, age, racial and ethnic background, and health history, as well as a medication list.
  4. We collected blood pressure and pulse, waist circumference, and a one-time sample of blood and urine, about 3 tablespoons of each.
  5. Participants agreed to contact up to four times per year for additional study opportunities associated with the MURDOCK Study.
  • I am currently a participant, or have given my biological samples and health information in the past. Where are they, now?

We store your samples and information in the MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository, a secure, state-of-the-art facility. There is no limit on the length of time we will keep your blood, urine and information unless you decide to stop participating. We will contact you once a year to update your health form, and we may contact you up to four times a year to ask if you would like to participate in additional studies. *You should not expect to get individual results from your blood and urine samples.

  • As a participant, how is my privacy protected?

The MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository has been approved by the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Human Subjects (Medical Institutional Review Board) at both Duke University and Carolinas Healthcare System. We will not give information that identifies you (name, social security number, address, telephone number, or any other direct personal identifier in study records) to anyone without your permission, except if required by law. Your name will be removed and any other identifiers will be replaced with a barcode. Your samples will be stored in locked freezers in locked buildings. We use secure computers to store health information and research data. Researchers who study your samples and health information will not know who you are because your samples and health information will be de-identified. If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, you may call Duke University staff at (704) 250-5861.

  • How will I benefit from my participation in this study?

You have a chance to help others and improve the health and quality of life in our community. You will also receive newsletters featuring updates on the latest research affecting the community, and you will have access to a website that will keep you updated with the latest information on the study. Participants are compensated.

  • Can I stop participating?

You can stop participating in the MURDOCK Study at any time.


In partnership with the geospatial mapping experts at Duke’s Children’s Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI), the MURDOCK Study is georeferencing – or spatially locating – enrollment into its registry/biobanking project.  By characterizing where individuals live when they join the study, the MURDOCK Study team can be better informed about where they should target their recruitment efforts and potentially improve study design.  Adding this new dimension to the data that is collected will provide MURDOCK Study researchers with an alternative and unique method for data presentation and analysis.

Representative Sample

Piloting a Representative Sampling Strategy for Enrolling MURDOCK Study Participants

What is a representative sample?

  • An unbiased, randomly selected group within a population that represents the characteristics of that population

Why is it important?

  • To include a broad representation of the population’s characteristics so that study findings more accurately represent our local population.

Why a pilot?

  • To test our representative sample recruitment processes on a small number of households (only 100) before pursuing recruitment of a much larger group within the local population.

Perceptions of the MURDOCK Study

Duke and UNC researchers 

After the initiation of Horizon 1.5, researchers from local universities conducted a study to measure perceptions of the MURDOCK Study in the Kannapolis/Cabarrus County community. Working with MURDOCK team members in Kannapolis, the research staff performed semi-structured interviews with 28 community members, 15 of whom joined the MURDOCK Study and 13 who declined participating in the study.

The project was designed to examine motivations for participation versus non-participation. Interviewers also probed community attitudes toward the MURDOCK study, discussing perceived benefits and risks of enrollment. Researchers found that participants had a high level of trust in the MURDOCK Study and its staff, while expressing few fears about privacy or data security. Additionally, analysis of the interviews found that enrolled individuals were motivated to join because of altruism, wanting to advance scientific research and improve the health of their community.

To learn more about this research effort, check out this press release or these presentation slides.

MURDOCK study and more