Duke University names new director of operations for MURDOCK Study, related research projects

Julie Eckstrand, R.Ph., has been named the new director of operations for Duke University’s Translational Population Health Research Group, which includes the MURDOCK Study and Duke’s other clinical research studies based at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis.

In her new role, Eckstrand will manage operations for the “TransPop” Group for the new Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).  The research portfolio includes the MURDOCK Study and related research projects involving biomarkers, longitudinal registries, risk modeling of data, and community-engaged research at the Duke-Kannapolis office. TransPop serves as an academic hub for accelerating the translation and implementation of scientific discoveries into health benefits for patients and communities. Continue reading Duke University names new director of operations for MURDOCK Study, related research projects

Thursday, March 16

Pancake Day at the Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County has been a tradition in Concord for sixty years!  Every year on  the third Thursday in March, dedicated board members, volunteers and staff spend the entire day cooking pancakes and sausage for thousands of hungry customers.  This is truly a community event, with close to 5,000 people attending each year. Click here for more info!

Duke Staff Dance to Raise Awareness of Diabetes


Faculty and staff from Duke Endocrinology and Duke’s office in Kannapolis are kicking up their heels on the dance floor to raise awareness of diabetes and diabetes research.

The #DiabetesDanceDare is a social media challenge created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, but the “dare” will continue well into 2017. Organizations, advocacy group and individuals across the country are posting videos of themselves dancing for 23 seconds to represent the rate of diabetes diagnoses in the U.S. — a new diagnosis every 23 seconds. Continue reading Duke Staff Dance to Raise Awareness of Diabetes

MURDOCK Study partners with BioStorage

Duke University has partnered with BioStorage Technologies, Inc. in Indianapolis for storage and management of the biological samples provided by Kannapolis and Cabarrus County residents for the landmark MURDOCK Study.

Study leaders needed to develop an alternative storage option due to the closure of the LabCorp biorepository in Kannapolis this summer, a result of its corporate merger with Covance.

With no other local biorepository option, MURDOCK Study leadership conducted an extensive search process and chose BioStorage Technologies, Inc. for storage and management of the samples. The legacy of our more than 12,200 participants who have made this incredibly important research project possible has been preserved. Continue reading MURDOCK Study partners with BioStorage

Journal publishes TAPS Tool paper

In 2014-2015, MURDOCK Study staff enrolled participants in the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substance Use (TAPS) Tool Study in collaboration with three other groups as part of a consortium under the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This study evaluated screening methods for substance abuse in primary care patients.

Participants from Kannapolis were recruited from primary care practice lobbies and, after initial screening, asked to complete a questionnaire and donate a cheek swab sample. The questionnaire covered topics about the use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, and answers were corroborated by cheek swab samples. Researchers then compared the percentage of matches between self-reported information and findings from the cheek swabs to current methods of screening substance use in primary care patients.

We are thrilled to share that on Sept. 6, “Performance of the Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication and Other Substance Use (TAPS) Tool for Substance Use Screening in Primary Care Patients” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The paper describes the hard work contributed by MURDOCK Study staff and collaborators in enrolling 2,000 participants, and highlights a promising new way to detect substance use disorders. The paper was written by Jennifer McNeely, MD, MS and co-authored by Li-Tzy Wu, PhD, professor of psychiatry and professor of medicine at Duke and director of the Mid Southern Node.

A note from your principal investigator

Greetings, MURDOCK Study participants!

As you can tell from your newsletter, Duke-Kannapolis has an incredible amount of exciting activity underway, including ramping up new studies and collaborations that will provide not only novel insights into health and disease, but new enrollment opportunities for our participants. Recruitment has begun for the MURDOCK COPD Study, and our team is preparing to open enrollment for a landmark study that will enroll thousands of people in North Carolina and California who have or are at risk of developing cancer or heart disease, as well as healthy volunteers. Look for more information about this breakthrough study soon.

These new research projects based in Kannapolis, along with others that will follow in the coming months and years, are a direct result of the MURDOCK Study, one of the largest and most unique studies of its kind. Your dedication and participation have been crucial to successfully building a community registry of more than 12,200 participants and nearly 460,000 biological samples, available to approved investigators from around the world to advance research and help develop precision health and medicine.

With a successful closeout of enrollment for studies including Healthy Aging, Multiple Sclerosis, and Memory and Cognitive Health the MURDOCK Study is evolving and transitioning into a new phase of disease-specific research using samples and data from existing and future cohorts. We are intently focused on annual follow-up and engaging you, our participants, in how researchers are using your samples and data to address health questions important to you and the local community. We will continue to keep you informed of the many ways that your role as a clinical research pioneer in Kannapolis and greater Cabarrus County is making a difference. We offer heartfelt gratitude for your participation and ask for your continued support by filling out your Annual Follow-Up form every year as part of Project Blue.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who attended the Duke Dash 5K & Healthfest, which drew 251 runners and hundreds of others to celebrate their dedication to health and wellness. The MURDOCK Study team is both proud and humbled to have to opportunity to serve this community.






L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS

Principal Investigator, MURDOCK Study

Professor, Duke Medicine

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