MURDOCK Study Leadership
L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Duke University Medical Center
Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Study
After receiving her medical degree from Indiana University, Dr. Newby completed a residency in internal medicine and a cardiology fellowship at Duke University. Currently, she is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and Co-Director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Duke University Hospital. At the Duke Clinical Research Institute, she has been engaged for many years in cardiovascular clinical trials, incorporation of biorepositories in clinical trials, and the development of integrated biosignatures of risk and response to treatment. Within the Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute, she leads translational population health research.
Dr. Newby serves as principal investigator of the MURDOCK Study, and co-led its cardiovascular disease component, Reclassifying Risk for Cardiovascular Events. She is co-principal investigator for the 12,000-person
MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository in Cabarrus County and Kannapolis, North Carolina and is a Duke PI and led protocol development for the 10,000-person Baseline Study, a collaboration between Duke, Stanford and Verily Life Sciences. She is also one of the PIs of the coordinating center for the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program.
Dr. Newby has authored more than 340 peer-reviewed publications, and was named to Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers listing in 2015 and 2016. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Heart Journal, was previously a Senior Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Heart Association, and now serves as the Deputy Editor of JACC: Basic to Translational Science. She is Past Chair of the Council on Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association and a member of the Association of University Cardiologists.
Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, MD, PhD Director, Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine Duke University School of Medicine
Director, MEDxSchool of Medicine-Pratt School of Engineering
Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Duke University Medical Center Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering
Dr. Ginsburg is the founding director for the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center. He is also the founding director for MEDx, a partnership between the Schools of Medicine and Engineering to spark and translate innovation. He is a professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.
While at Duke, Dr. Ginsburg has pioneered translational genomics, the development of novel diagnostics, and precision medicine, initiating programs in genome enabled biomarker discovery, longitudinal registries with linked molecular and clinical data, biomarker-informed clinical trials, and the development of novel practice models and implementation research for the integration of genomic tools and digital health technologies into heath care delivery systems. With a strong commitment to interdisciplinary science he has led projects to develop predictive models for common complex diseases using high dimensional genomic data as well as collaborations with engineering groups to develop novel point of care sensors.
His work spans oncology, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, and his research is addressing the challenges for translating genomic information into medical practice using new and innovative paradigms, and the integration of personalized medicine into health care. He is an internationally recognized expert in genomics and personalized medicine with over 200 published papers, and funding from NIH, DOD, Air Force, DARPA, the Gates Foundation, and industry.
In 1990, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he was director of Preventive Cardiology at Beth Israel Hospital and led a laboratory in applied genetics of cardiovascular diseases at Children’s Hospital. In 1997 he joined Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc, as senior program director for cardiovascular diseases and was eventually appointed vice president of Molecular and Personalized Medicine, where he was responsible for developing pharmacogenomic strategies for therapeutics, as well as biomarkers for disease and their implementation in the drug development process. He has received a number of awards for his research accomplishments, including the Innovator in Medicine Award from Millennium in 2004, the Basic Research Achievement Award in Cardiovascular Medicine from Duke in 2005, and the ILCHUN Molecular Medicine Award from Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2014. In 2015 he was an honored speaker at the White House Champions for Change in Precision Medicine.
He is a founding member and former board member of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, a section editor for The Journal of the American College of Cardiology and an editorial advisor for Science Translational Medicine. In addition, he is the editor of Genomic and Personalized Medicine (Elsevier) published in 2012. He is a member of the Faculty of 1000. He has been a member of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Advisory Council on Genomic Medicine, a member of the NIGMS External Scientific Panel for the Pharmacogenomics Research Network, and the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research at NIH. He is currently an international expert panel member for Genome Canada, a member of the Board of External Experts for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on The Future of the Health Sector.
He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at NIH and is the Vice Chair for the Cures Acceleration Network Board. He is co-chair of the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Translating Genome-Based Research for Health and co-chair of the IOM/NIH Global Genomic Medicine Collaborative.He received his MD and PhD in biophysics from Boston University and completed an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, MA. Subsequently, he pursued postdoctoral training in clinical cardiovascular medicine at Beth Israel Hospital and in molecular biology at Children’s Hospital as a Bugher Foundation Fellow of the American Heart Association.
Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke Center for Genomic and Computational Biology
Assistant Professor in Surgery, Duke University Medical Center
A graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Erich Huang has spent nearly two decades with Duke University and Duke Medicine. After receiving his MD and PhD in genetics from Duke University, Dr. Huang completed a residency in general surgery at Duke University Medical Center. His clinical interests include computational and systems biology, solid-tumor gene-expression analysis, breast cancer, and oncogenic pathway analysis. He is currently leading projects on applied machine learning, user interfaces, visualization of surgical outcomes and a chronic kidney disease “early warning” system.
As the first faculty member recruited to the Duke University School of Medicine Department of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, Dr. Huang is leading the development of a data science culture for biomedical research at Duke. He is the principal investigator of an NIH-funded project under the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) RFAs and the faculty lead for informatics on the Verily-funded Baseline Study.
Laura Beskow, PhD
Co-Director, Program for Empirical Bioethics
Dr. Beskow received her BS in nutrition from Iowa State University and her MPH with a concentration in health law from Boston University. She next worked at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, and then received a Career Development Award through the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine and worked with the CDC Office of Genetics and Disease Prevention. She completed her PhD in Health Policy and Administration, with a minor in Epidemiology, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005.
Dr. Beskow is currently an Associate Professor at the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Clinical Research Institute, where her work focuses on ethics and policy issues in biomedical research—particularly human subjects issues in large-scale genomic and translational research. She has been a Principal Investigator on empirical studies of research recruitment, informed consent, confidentiality protections, the return of research results to participants and families, and the research use of electronic health records.
Nationally, she served on the Subpart A Subcommittee of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Human Research Protections, and on the Federal Advisory Committee for the National Children’s Study. At Duke she chairs the Ad Hoc Human Genetics Review Committee.
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.
Jennifer Freedman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Chief Scientist of the Genitourinary Oncology Research Program, DCI and Duke University Medical Center
Simon Gregory, PhD
Russell P. Hall, MD
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 is co-principal investigator for the MURDOCK COPD Study.
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
Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology
Assistant Professor, Division of Pathology
Assistant Professor, Division of Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine
Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Study Osteoarthritis Study
Dr. Virginia Kraus is a physician-scientist professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. Her PhD training at Duke University, related to molecular biology, was in the field of eukaryotic transcription control with Dr. Joseph R. Nevins in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her postdoctoral work with Dr. Bruce Caterson at the University of North Carolina was in the field of cartilage extracellular matrix biology and biochemistry.
Since 1995, Dr. Kraus has supervised a laboratory devoted to experimental medicine research to understand the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and develop novel tools to aid in the diagnosis, prognosis and effective intervention of this disease. Her special interest is in biomarkers of osteoarthritis for human and pre-clinical disease investigations and their application to basic science, genetics, and clinical trials.
In a book co-authored by Dr. Kraus, The Everyday Arthritis Solution, the authors recommended several self-help strategies for individuals suffering from OA. They identified selenium, found in a multi-vitamin, as a beneficial supplement.
Keyur Patel, MD
Associate Professor of Duke University Medical Center, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Toronto Health Network
Dr. Patel received his Bachelor of Medicine degree from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, and completed his clinical fellowship in Internal Medicine/Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Perth, Western Australia.
He completed a three-year post-doctoral research fellowship in Clinical and Translational Research in viral hepatitis at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, San Diego, CA, and at the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He was on faculty at Duke University 2004-2015 and an Associate Professor of Medicine with Tenure before moving to UHN Toronto in October 2015.
His research interests include clinical and translational research relating to host metabolic risk factors and mechanisms of fibrosis in viral hepatitis, along with the development of non-invasive markers of fibrosis, and the incorporation of functional genomic tools in the development of biomarkers of disease progression.
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
Laura P. Svetkey, MD MHS is Professor of Medicine, Director of the Duke Hypertension Center, Director of Clinical Research at the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity in the Department of Medicine. She is also the Director of Duke’s CTSA internal career development award program (KL2). She is a faculty member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute (DMPI) and the Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC). She is co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Core of the Duke O’Brien Center for Kidney Research (DOCK).
Dr. Svetkey has over 30 years of experience in the investigation of hypertension, obesity, and related areas, conducting NIH-sponsored clinical research ranging from behavioral intervention trials to metabolomics and genetics, with a consistent focus on prevention, non-pharmacologic intervention, health disparities and minority health. Her research has affected national guidelines, having served on the 2013 national Hypertension Guideline Panel (JNC) and the Lifestyle Guideline Working Group. She is a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP).
Dr. Svetkey is Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Diversity in the Department of Medicine. In this role she implements a wide range of programs to enhance the experience and advancement of faculty and trainees, with particular emphasis on under-represented minorities and women.
Julie Eckstrand, R.Ph.
Director of Operations, Translational Population Health
Leah B. Bouk, MBA, CCRC
Research Program Leader, Clinical Operations
A native of Salisbury, N.C., Ms. Bouk joined Duke University in December 2008 as a clinical research coordinator. Now as project leader, she oversees clinical operations and regulatory affairs for the Duke-Kannapolis office.
Prior to joining Duke, Ms. Bouk worked as a clinical research coordinator with Piedmont Medical Group (PMG), an integrated site network of clinical research facilities in the southeast region of the United States. She worked at the Charlotte site, consisting of 20-plus investigators. There, she conducted 15 studies as the primary coordinator in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, COPD, diabetes, knee osteoarthritis, dermatology and influenza. Ms. Bouk focused on recruiting and managing study participants for pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trials, as well as establishing primary care physicians and medical specialists as investigators.
Ms. Bouk received a master’s degree in Business Administration from Wingate University in 2014 with a concentration in Corporate Innovation. She graduated from N.C. State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, with a concentration in nutrition. She enjoys exercising outdoors, yoga, traveling with family and friends and cheering on the Wolfpack at NCSU football games with her husband and son.
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.
Brooke Heidenfelder, Ph.D.
Research Program Leader, Translational Population Health
Research Program Leader, Community Engagement and Outreach
A resident of Concord and native of Ecuador, Ms. Nunes joined the Duke-MURDOCK Study team in September 2009 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. In November 2012, Ms. Nunes was promoted to her current role of project leader. In this role, she oversees community outreach and recruitment efforts of the MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository in the Kannapolis/Cabarrus County catchment region. She also oversees staffing and office operations, growing volunteer and internship programs, and other community engagement activities associated with this large resource.
Ms. Nunes graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and began her research career at Hoffman-LaRoche in Nutley, New Jersey, where she worked for 14 years in drug discovery. In June 2000, she relocated with her family to Concord, North Carolina. Ms. Nunes worked in the Department of General Surgery Research at the Cannon Research Center of Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) from 2001-2009. While there, she focused on preclinical and clinical research areas related to oncology and immunology.
As an active member of the Greater Charlotte Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), Ms. Nunes has served as a participant since 2007, first as member, secretary and then president of the Greater Charlotte Chapter. She enjoys spending time at the beach and watching soccer with her husband, Tony, and her sons, Tony Jr. and Michael.
Douglas Wixted, MMCi
Research Program Leader, Strategy
Mr. Wixted manages a number of strategic initiatives for the MURDOCK Study, including a focus on informatics, efficient and scalable infrastructure, and maximizing data quality and value. He worked with the MURDOCK Study from 2011 to 2013 and re-joined the Duke and MURDOCK family in December 2014 after a year at Quintiles, a global life science services firm headquartered in Research Triangle Park.
His professional experience spans a number of different clinical and healthcare research sectors, including patient and Investigator engagement strategies, digital recruitment and retention tactics, informatics and data management, clinical strategy and design of experiments and measures, regulatory affairs and medical writing. Mr. Wixted’s research interests include behavioral economics and person/patient empowerment as it relates to healthcare services and resulting data and information.
He earned a Master of Management in Clinical Informatics (MMCI) from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in Durham and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., where he concentrated in biotechnology with sector work in health systems and telecommunications.
Ms. Selina Baker joined the MURDOCK Study in June 2011 as a Staff Assistant for the Kannapolis office of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and MURDOCK Study. Prior to joining the Kannapolis-based MURDOCK Study team, Ms. Baker worked with Novant Health at the Steele Creek Family 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 for First Charter Bank and Oswego County Savings Bank.
Mary Lou Perry
Ms. Mary Lou Perry is the MURDOCK Study Kannapolis Administrative Support and Office Management Assistant to Victoria Christian, Chief Operating Officer of Duke Translational Research Institute and operational director of the MURDOCK Study.
A Kannapolis native, Ms. Perry worked for the Duke University Health System for seven years in Duke Home Care and Hospice prior to joining the MURDOCK Study team.
Clinical Research Specialist
Ms. Hover started work with the Duke-Kannapolis office in June 2015. She is a part of the Community Engagement Team and Clinical Team, focusing on the MURDOCK COPD Study and the retention of the Spanish-speaking participants. A native of Lima, Peru, Ms. Hover has an associate’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Lima and associate’s degree in Early Childhood Development from Central Piedmont Community College, as well as numerous certifications.
Before coming to Duke University, Ms. Hover worked in community outreach for Novant Health. She has two children and a dog and loves to travel, dance and be outside. She enjoys using her medical skills to volunteer in the community.
Clinical Research Specialist, Senior
Melissa Johnston joined the team in February 2014 after graduating from UNC Wilmington in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education and an emphasis on business. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at UNC Charlotte for health administration.
Ms. Johnston takes an active role in the MURDOCK Study team’s social media presence, creating five new pages and updating existing pages daily. She has been involved with many studies, including the MURDOCK Study, Healthy Aging Study, Multiple Sclerosis Study, Prostate Cancer Study, COPD Study, and Memory and Cognitive Health Study, and has collected and processed biological samples.
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 serving at Elevation Church-University and as a Community Health Ambassador in the greater Charlotte area. She also supports mental health initiatives through awareness and advocacy.
Christopher E. Lewis
Sarah Maichle, MS, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Specialist, Senior
Mrs. Debbie Meylor joined the MURDOCK Study team in February 2012 as a Clinical Trials Assistant. She supports several cohort studies including memory and cognitive health and physical performance/healthy aging. Mrs. 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, Mrs. Meylor relocated to New York at an early age. After graduation, she had the opportunity to work at Quest Diagnostics as a specimen technician and soon became interested in medicine and helping others. She returned to school, trained in phlebotomy and learned about the MURDOCK Study through her friend and colleague, Perla Nunes.
Mrs. Meylor appreciates working for the MURDOCK Study 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, Genesis and Christian, and helping youth in her church.
Kimberly “Micki” Roseman
Abha Singh, MD, CCRP
Communications Specialist II
Ms. Ford joined the MURDOCK Study team in September 2014 as the study’s first communications specialist. She has worked as a journalist and freelance writer since 1992 and won the 2008 Duke University Green-Rossiter Award for Distinguished Newspaper Work in Higher Education for coverage of the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, where the MURDOCK Study is based. A native of South Dakota, Ms. Ford graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the University of South Dakota and now lives in Salisbury, North Carolina with her husband, three children, and two or three dogs, depending on the day. She also teaches yoga.
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.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Born in Argentina and now a resident of Concord, North Carolina, Ms. Cecilia Plez joined the MURDOCK Study team in January 2010 as a Clinical Trials Assistant II. Ms. Plez supports the study by informing, recruiting and enrolling the Hispanic population in the area. She previously worked as a teacher and translator both in Argentina and the United States after graduating from UM University in Buenos Aires with a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages.
Data Management & Informatics