MURDOCK Study Leadership
L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS
Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, MD, PhD
Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD
Laura Beskow, PhD
Harvey Cohen, MD
Director, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke Department of Medicine
Walter Kempner Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine
Professor, Duke School of Nursing
Division Chief, Division of Geriatrics, Duke University School of Medicine
Investigator, MURDOCK Physical Performance Study
Dr. Cohen is considered one of the world’s leading experts in geriatric oncology and holds the positions of the Walter Kempner Professor of Medicine, director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and a professor in the Duke University School of Nursing.
During his more than forty years on Duke’s faculty, Dr. Cohen helped establish the Division of Geriatrics and served as interim chair and chair of the Department of Medicine, founding chief of the Division of Geriatrics, and director of the Durham Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center. He directs Duke’s Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, a National Institutes of Health-funded all-university program focused on improving the functional independence of older adults. From 2001 to 2005, he served as a member of the School of Nursing Faculty Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) Committee.
In 2009, Dr. Cohen received the Paul Calabresi Award from the Society of International Oncology and Geriatrics, and in 2010 he received the B. J. Kennedy Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology for his role in establishing the discipline of geriatric oncology. Last year, the Duke Medical Alumni Association recognized him with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Dr. Cohen served as president of both the American Geriatrics Society and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and he chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging. He also is a Fellow of the GSA. He currently serves as chair of the Cancer in the Elderly Committee for the Cancer and Acute Leukemia Group B.
Dr. Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in New York and a medical degree from the College of Medicine at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He completed an internship and residency in medicine and a hematology-oncology fellowship at Duke.
Rowena J. Dolor, MD, MHS
Associate Professor with Tenure, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine
Director, Duke Primary Care Research Consortium, Duke Clinical Research Institute
Co-Investigator, MURDOCK Study Community Registry & Biorepository
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dr. Dolor did her medical training and internal medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center. She completed the Ambulatory Care/Health Services Research fellowship at the Durham VA Medical Center (VAMC) in 1996 and obtained her Masters in Health Sciences degree in Biometry from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1998. Dr. Dolor was a staff physician in the Ambulatory Care Service at the Durham VA Medical Center and Research Associate at the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham VAMC from 1995 to June 2012.
The focus of her research pertains to primary care clinical and outcomes research. She acts as an investigator of several federally-funded projects conducted in community-based settings on hypertension, diabetes, patient-provider communication, immunization, and osteoarthritis. Since 1997, Dr. Dolor has been the director of the Primary Care Research Consortium (PCRC), a network of primary care practices in the Duke University Health System and outlying communities. The PCRC has participated in more than 100 studies on hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, otitis, obesity, diabetes, depression, anticoagulation, and vaccines. The Duke PCRC is a registered network in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) PBRN registry and a member network within the North Carolina Network Consortium, (NCNC, http://ncnc.unc.edu) and the Meta-network Learning and Research Center (Meta-LARC, https://pbrn.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/page/Meta-Larc.pdf).
Dr. Dolor served as a member of the AHRQ PBRN Resource Center Steering Committee from 2006-2010 and the NAPCRG PBRN Conference steering committee in 2012. She has chaired in the NAPCRG PBRN annual conference from 2013 to 2016.Her work in the Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) involves directing collaboration between Duke researchers and PCPs on community-based PBRN projects, and serving as a co-investigator on a CTSA supplement grant entitled Partnership-driven Resources to Improve and Enhance Research (PRIMER, www.researchtoolkit.org). From 2011- 2014, she was co-chair of the CTSA PBRN Collaboration Workgroup, and a member of the Community Engagement Key Function Committee, the CTSA Strategic Goal 4 Combined Networking Group committee, and the CTSA Comparative Effectiveness Research Key Function Committee (CER KFC).
She serves on the University of Cincinnati Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) External Advisory Board. As part of the CER KFC, she co-authored a paper entitled “A National Strategy to Develop Pragmatic Clinical Trials Infrastructure” which lists five recommendations designed to lead toward a sustained national infrastructure for pragmatic trials — developing the network, enhancing community engagement, addressing regulatory challenges, advancing information technology, and developing research methods.
In the fall of 2014, Dr. Dolor joined Vanderbilt as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine within the Division of General Internal Medicine. As a research faculty member, her role is to assist in the formation of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Clinical Research Network, a PBRN comprised of community sites in the mid-Tennessee region. In addition, she is involved in the Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network, a PCORnet awardee, responsible for building the partnership with the community practices for comparative effectiveness studies that will utilize the electronic health records/information system infrastructure of the CDRN.
Since 2008, she has acted as a co-investigator of the MURDOCK Study Community Registry & Biorepository, helping to advise the research team on collaborating with community practices and organizations for recruitment, study implementation, and dissemination.
Constance M. Johnson, PhD, MS, RN, FAAN Dr. Johnson is a tenured Associate Professor and a health informatician with interdisciplinary training in nursing and health informatics, and is the Senior Research Faculty at the Duke University School of Nursing. She has a secondary appointment in the Department of Community and Family Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine. She earned her BSN from the University of Connecticut and her MS and PhD from the School of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She has over 25 years of experience in research and informatics in the area of health promotion and disease prevention.
Dr. Johnson’s current research interests in health informatics include human-computer interaction, and how the representation and visualization of information impacts health care decisions in the area of disease prevention and health promotion. As a Primary Investigator, she has received research funding from the National Cancer Institute, National Library of Medicine, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, AHRQ, and RENCI. She is also a Co-Investigator and Co-PI on various on various other grants in the area of Health Informatics. Dr. Johnson has numerous publications and has presented her work both nationally and internationally. Dr. Johnson mentors Master’s, DNP, and PhD students.
Miriam C. Morey, PhD
Professor in Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine
Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development
Dr. Morey, principal investigator for the MURDOCK Physical Performance Study, is an expert on exercise and aging. Her research examines how physical activity, exercise training and physical fitness influence well-being, quality of life and the ability to perform physical tasks in late life. She directs a long-standing, supervised hospital-based program for older veterans called Gerofit, which is used to examine the effects of exercise training on health and well-being over time. Documentaries describing the impact of this program on the lives of participating veterans can be found at http://www.va.gov/geriatrics/gerofit/gerofit_success_stories.asp.
Dr. Morey has expertise in the area of exercise physiology and aging. She has specific knowledge in age-related changes in cardiorespiratory functioning, the effects of habitual exercise (longitudinal) on performance, and exercise programming for older adults. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997.
Devon Noonan, PhD Assistant Professor, Duke University School of Nursing
Dr. Noonan is a registered nurse and registered nurse practitioner with clinical practice experience in community health, occupational health, and pediatric/adolescent health settings. She received her BSN at Boston College, her MS in Nursing at Georgetown University, her MPH and PhD at the University of Virginia and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Dr. Noonan’s research is focused on health promotion and cancer risk reduction in vulnerable populations. Her work has a strong focus on tobacco control and a special emphasis on alternative tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco.
Scott M. Palmer, MD, MHS
Director, DCRI Pulmonary Research
Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine
Dr. Palmer, principal investigator for the MURDOCK COPD Study, leads a successful program of clinical, basic and translational research in transplantation and advanced lung diseases. He currently directs the pulmonary research program at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and serves as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Palmer has over 150 peer reviewed publications, received numerous awards, including election into the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2012, chaired many sessions at national and international meetings, serves regularly on NIH study sections, and is on the editorial board of many prominent journals. He is also Associate Director of the Clinical Research Training Program at Duke and has personally mentored over 40 pre-and post-doctoral trainees, many of whom are now engaged in their own successful research careers.
His scientific accomplishments include the first human studies to demonstrate the importance of innate immunity in transplant rejection and completion of a prospective multicenter study that improved CMV prevention after lung transplantation.
Current basic projects in the lab are studying the role of the matrix in the activation of innate immunity in pulmonary transplant rejection, and epithelial injury and repair in the development of toxin induced bronchiolitis obliterans. Translational and human projects are studying predictors of lung transplant survival in the UNOS database, immune monitoring to predict CMV infection and acute rejection after lung transplantation, and the use of novel inhaled antibiotics in lung transplantation. The lab is also using cutting edge whole exome genetic sequencing to identify genetic predictors of transplant rejection.
Dr. Palmer also leads trials coordinated through the DCRI that study the natural history and investigate new treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic lung transplant rejection, and posttransplant cytomegalovirus infection.
Steven Patierno, PhD
Deputy Director, Duke Cancer Institute (DCI)
Director, DCI Population Sciences and Health Service
Professor of Medicine and Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center
Patierno’s research interests are focused on Cancer Control but include a broad spectrum of laboratory, population level, and health services research. He is internationally recognized as a leading expert in cancer causation and molecular carcinogenesis. His carcinogenesis research focuses on molecular mechanisms of DNA damage and repair, and cellular signaling responses at the nexus between cell death and survival. His translational research is focused on the genomics of cancer disparities, cancer biology, molecular pharmacology and targeted experimental therapeutics to control tumor aggressiveness.
Patierno is also actively engaged in cancer health disparities and health services research, particularly in patient navigation, survivorship, community-based interventions, mHealth, implementation sciences, cancer care economics, and policy.
Jamie L. Todd, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Member, Duke Clinical Research Institute
Dr. Todd, co-principal investigator for the MURDOCK COPD Study, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at Duke University with a secondary faculty appointment in the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). Dr. Todd received her undergraduate education at Colorado State University and attended medical school at the University of Colorado. She then matriculated to Duke University where she completed internship, residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine followed by fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine.
Dr. Todd has developed a depth of clinical expertise in lung transplantation and advanced lung disease management. Concurrent with her clinical focus, her research emphasizes clinical and translational approaches to understand fibrotic lung disease development, in particular the development of chronic allograft dysfunction after lung transplantation. Dr. Todd’s ongoing research endeavors in lung transplantation include applying genetic approaches to understand susceptibility to lung allograft rejection, analyzing human lung fluid, tissue, and cell specimens to delineate novel pathobiologic mechanisms that contribute to graft rejection or fibrosis, and characterizing clinical phenotypes of chronic lung allograft dysfunction that strongly influence patient survival. Additionally, through her appointment at the DCRI, she has accumulated a breadth of hands-on experience in pulmonary clinical research including early phase clinical trial design, clinical events adjudication, and large-scale biomarker discovery research.
Allison Vorderstrasse, DNSc, APRN, CNE, FAAN Dr. Vorderstrasse is an Adult Nurse Practitioner whose clinical practice and scholarship focuses on chronic illness, particularly in ethnic minority populations. Dr. Vorderstrasse’s doctoral dissertation research, recent publications, and national presentations illuminate the relationships of psychosocial factors with dietary intake in Black American women with Type 2 diabetes. She is a core team member of Durham Health Innovations: Partnership IMPACTS Diabetes. Dr. Vorderstrasse has also examined the validity of common dietary assessments for use in clinical practice and research. Her findings have contributed to the literature and to the debate on how best to assess dietary intake in persons with chronic illness, particularly given the extent of obesity in the U.S. and the need for dietary modification interventions at the clinical level.
Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, PhD, ABCN
Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Division of Medical Psychology
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Division of Neurology
Director, Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Memory and Cognitive Health Study
Dr. Welsh-Bohmer’s research focuses on the neuropsychology of aging and dementia. Her clinical interests include the neuropsychological evaluation of adults with known or suspected brain injuries, specializing in geriatrics, Alzheimer’s disease, memory disorders, movement disorders, stroke, and toxic exposure. She received by PhD in psychology from the University of Virginia in 1985 and completed her fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Iowa.
Virginia Byers Kraus, MD, PhD
Keyur Patel, MD
Svati Shah, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Associate Director, Cardiovascular Fellowship Training ProgramBoard-Eligible Cardiologist
Investigator, MURDOCK Horizon 1 Cardiovascular Study
Dr. Svati Shah is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, at the Duke University Medical Center and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program.
Dr. Shah’s research focuses on the genetic epidemiology of coronary artery disease and in particular, early-onset coronary artery disease. She has received several grants for this research, including an American Heart Association Career Development Award. She is a co-investigator on several cardiovascular genomics projects, including work on the AGENDA project identifying novel genes for atherosclerosis, the CATHGEN cardiac catheterization biorepository, the GENECARD study of familial early-onset coronary artery disease and the MURDOCK Study Horizon 1 acute coronary events project and the obesity project.
Laura P. Svetkey, MD, MHS
Leah B. Bouk, MBA, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator II
Ms. Flynn joined Duke University’s MURDOCK Study in August 2013 as a Clinical Trials Assistant II. She graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and worked for Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before teaching middle school science for eight years.
Originally from Duluth, Georgia, Ms. Flynn moved to North Carolina in 2003. She is excited to be part of the Duke-Kannapolis team and believes it holds the potential to greatly reduce the impact of disease in people’s lives. In her free time, she likes to design jewelry and spend time outdoors with her daughter and four dogs.
Clinical Trials Assistant II
A recent graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College with an Associate’s Degree in biotechnology, Ms. Glines also earned a phlebotomy certificate from Central Piedmont Community College. She went back to school during the 2008 recession after she was laid off from an office job. Ms. Glines has enjoyed working with the diverse individuals she meets while recruiting and enrolling in the MURDOCK Study.
Originally from Ohio, she is married and shares her home with five precious dogs. She has two sons, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild. She enjoys riding a motorcycle and camping with her husband.
Clinical Research Specialist, Senior
Melissa Johnston joined the team in February 2014 after graduating from UNC Wilmington in December 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education and an emphasis on business.
Ms. Johnston was part of study start-up, recruitment, enrollment, and close-out of the NIDA TAPs Tool Study, funded by the NIH. She takes an active role in the following studies: MURDOCK Study Community Registry, Healthy Aging, Multiple Sclerosis, Memory Health Study, COPD, and Prostate Cancer.
Her family has been in the Concord area since 2003, and she has developed ties in the local community by volunteering at the Community Free Clinic of Cabarrus County and attending Elevation Church-University City. She also supports mental health initiatives through awareness and advocacy.
Sarah Maichle, MS, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator II
Ms. Maichle joined the MURDOCK Study team in September 2011 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She is a lead coordinator for the multiple sclerosis cohort and moved to the Durham area in 2013 to expand the recruitment area for this study.
She graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Fitness Management and then received a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Northern Illinois University. Originally from Downers Grove, Illinois, she moved to North Carolina in April 2006. Shortly after relocating, Ms. Maichle joined PMG Research, an integrated site network of 10 clinical research sites, as a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator. While at PMG Research, she coordinated 40-plus clinical trials in the cardiovascular, urology, gastroenterology, neurology, endocrinolgy, and infectious disease therapeutic areas.
She is excited to be a part of the MURDOCK Study team and hopes to help make a difference in the future of medicine. In her free time Ms. Maichle enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and friends and traveling to new places.
Clinical Research Specialist, Senior
Ms. Debbie Meylor joined the Duke CTSI TransPop team in February 2012. She supports several cohort studies. Ms. Meylor also brings skills in phlebotomy and sample collection, as well as bilingual abilities allowing her to work both with Spanish-speaking and English-speaking participants.
A native of Puerto Rico, she relocated to New York at an early age. After graduation, she had the opportunity to work as a specimen technician and soon became interested in medicine and helping others. She returned to school, trained in phlebotomy and learned about Duke’s work in Kannapolis.
Mrs. Meylor appreciates working for the TransPop team because it gives her an opportunity to serve the community and work toward a healthier future for all. She enjoys spending time with her two children and helping youth in her church.
Clinical Research Specialist I
Ms. Ramsey transferred to Duke University’s MURDOCK Study from Employee Health on Duke’s main campus in Durham. Prior to working for Duke, she worked for Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) in contracts and proposals. She attended Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, North Carolina and majored in Business and Accounting and has worked in the medical field since 2006. In her leisure time, she enjoys karaoke and spending time with family.
Abha Singh, MD, CCRP
Clinical Research Specialist
Ms. Yarborough joined Duke University in 2013. Ms. Yarborough has more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and is certified as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, Forensic Collector and Breath Alcohol Technician. She has served as Laboratory Manager in several medical offices, including family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics. She also has worked as the coordinator for safety, state, federal and CLIA regulations. Ms. Yarborough worked previously at the University of North Carolina’s Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) on the North Carolina Research Campus before joining Duke’s team in Kannapolis. In addition to her clinical skills, Ms. Yarborough contributes to recruitment and retention efforts for multiple studies including the MURDOCK Study, Healthy Aging Study and COPD. She enjoys the opportunity to work in research and hopes to make a difference in the future.
Community Engagement & Administration
Clinical Trials Assistant II
Ms. Bahnson joined the MURDOCK Study in October 2014. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Davidson College in 2013 with a focus on biological anthropology and premedical coursework. She has worked as a medical scribe in the Emergency Department at Carolinas Medical Center University.
Ms. Bahnson aids in the recruitment and education of prospective MURDOCK Study participants, as well as specimen collection and processing. She is excited that her new role combines her clinical experience with her interest in public health relating to chronic conditions.
A Durham native, Kirsten enjoys living in Charlotte and loves reading, traveling and visiting with family and friends in her free time.
Ms. Baker joined the Duke CTSI TransPop team in June 2011 as a Staff Assistant for the Kannapolis office. Prior to joining Duke, she worked at a family medicine practice as a medical records coordinator. Originally from upstate New York, Ms. Baker now resides in Kannapolis. She started her career in a variety of operations positions in the banking industry.
Melissa A. Cornish, MSPH
Ms. Cornish is a Project Manager with the Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute and is based in the Duke-Kannapolis office, where she works closely with Duke leadership and faculty, operational leaders, and study staff to identify and support prospective research and strategic opportunities for growing the translational population health portfolio, support the start-up and implementation of new research studies, and engage in broader CTSI initiatives at Duke.
Ms. Cornish’s history with Duke dates back to 2008, when she joined the then-Duke Translational Research Institute and was one of the first employees for Duke’s Kannapolis location that initiated the MURDOCK Study and local operations. She joined Duke from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where she served as Senior Research Analyst. She and her staff of analysts provided senior leadership with business development support and competitive intelligence to better position the Institute for future funding strategies. Ms. Cornish also worked as a Social Research Associate with the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC-Chapel Hill. While there, she contributed to several large-scale national evaluations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Ms. Cornish received a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on health policy analysis from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health.
Ms. Barge came to the Duke-MURDOCK Study team in 2015 from the Southeastern Diabetes Initiative (SEDI), where she served as a North Carolina housing counselor and community outreach worker.
A 2010 graduate of Livingstone College in Salisbury, Ms. Barge earned a degree in Business Administration. She enjoys traveling, as well as spoiling her children, grandchildren and other family members. She has a passion for listening to soothing music and sitting on her front porch swing and is proud to be a native of the great state of Georgia.
Mr. Michael Nunes joined the MURDOCK Study in August 2014 as a Senior Marketing Assistant. His main responsibilities include planning, developing, coordinating and participating in the promotion and recruitment for the study. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a concentration in advertising and public relations. He held a professional internship with the UNCW Athletics department, where he helped promote all athletic events through multiple mediums, as well as serving as the radio announcer for the UNCW Seahawk Softball team. During his free time, Mr. Nunes plays in multiple local soccer leagues and often ventures to the beach.
Mary Lou Perry
Ms. Perry supports the Duke CTSI TransPop team as staff assistant. A Kannapolis native, she worked for the Duke University Health System for seven years in Duke Home Care and Hospice prior to joining Duke CTSI.
Data Management & Informatics
Kimberly Ellis Clinical Data Specialist II
Ms. Ellis supports the development of data management protocols, case report forms and instructions, query development, procedural manuals, project newsletters, standard operating procedures and other data management tools for MURDOCK Study projects. She also coordinates review teams with the data management group to generate, resolve and track data queries to assure the integrity of the clinical data with respect to data guidelines and developed specifications.
After working with the MURDOCK Study from 2012 to 2014, Ms. Ellis re-joined Duke and the MURDOCK team in April 2015 following a year at PPD, a global life science services firm headquartered in Research Triangle Park.
Her career began as a clinical data associate with PPD, where she supported senior data management. She has experience in study start-up, maintenance and closeout, working within various data management systems.
Ms. Ellis received a Master of Business Administration from Strayer University and bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from the North Carolina Central University. An Athens native, she enjoys living in Charlotte and loves spinning and yoga in her free time.
Senior Data Technician
Mr. Steele manages the annual follow-up effort for MURDOCK Study participants by overseeing the distribution and intake of participant annual follow-up information after initial enrollment. He also works closely with the database development team to develop and test new database capabilities and system tools used by MURDOCK staff and participants.
A native of Kannapolis, Mr. Steele received his undergraduate education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Analysis and a minor in music. He stays involved with the local community by serving as a member of the Kannapolis Planning and Zoning Commission and chairman of the Design Committee for Downtown Kannapolis Incorporated.
Prior to joining Duke University, Mr. Steele worked closely with the marketing director of the North Carolina Research Campus. He joined the Duke team in January 2009 as a staff assistant.
Douglas Wixted, MMCI