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Duke’s MURDOCK Study offers $100,000 in seed funding to NCRC scientists

July 02, 2015


KANNAPOLIS, N.C.—July 2, 2015—Duke University’s MURDOCK Study will invest up to $100,000 in the coming year to fund scientific discoveries at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis.

Victoria Christian

Victoria Christian, chief operating officer for Duke Translational Research Institute.

The MURDOCK Study-NCRC Seed Funding Voucher Program will provide up to 10 vouchers worth $10,000 each to qualifying NCRC investigators from any institution on the campus. Duke manages the MURDOCK Study and related population health research studies based in Kannapolis.

The vouchers will pay for scientists to use the services and capabilities of the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), a nonprofit research institute supporting researchers at the NCRC and around the world.

The vouchers can be redeemed exclusively for services at DHMRI, which offers scientific expertise and advanced instrumentation to collaborators focused on transforming science at the intersection of human health, nutrition and agriculture.

“We are really excited to announce the new voucher program, which aims not only to expand the Duke team’s growing list of collaborators on the North Carolina Research Campus but also promote the specialized capabilities of DHMRI,” said Kristin Newby, MD, MHS, principal investigator for the MURDOCK Study, a Duke cardiologist and a Duke Clinical Research Institute faculty member.

John Cavanagh, PhD, interim president for DHMRI, and Victoria Christian, chief operating officer for the Duke Translational Research Institute and operational founder for the MURDOCK Study, recently held an information session with NCRC investigators who are interested in the voucher program.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Duke-MURDOCK Study on this wonderful funding program available to investigators on the North Carolina Research Campus,” Cavanagh said. “The DHMRI has vast potential as our portfolio of capabilities, instrumentation and talent continues to grow. The Duke team is a natural partner and by collaborating on this program, we look forward to expanding a special relationship that has been cultivated for a long time.”

As part of the voucher program, Duke also will provide scientists with access to a limited number of MURDOCK Study samples and associated data. More than 11,600 volunteers in the Cabarrus County area have donated blood, urine and health histories to the MURDOCK Study, which aims to understand disease at the molecular level and help develop precision medicine. Sample donors are anonymous to scientists.

“The Duke-MURDOCK Study offers a wealth of assets that can bolster so many research concepts—almost beyond one’s imagination—and support the incredible opportunities and programs in human health and nutrition in Kannapolis that promise to make our goal of improving medicine and public health even more attainable,” Newby said. “A partnership like this helps realize the vision of the NCRC as an intersection of thought leadership, advanced instrumentation and research opportunities.”

The invitation to combine the resources of the MURDOCK Study, DHMRI and the NCRC scientific community is intended to expand the impact of the partners’ collective efforts, Christian said.

NC Research Campus scientists at Duke University forum

Scientists ask questions during a forum about Duke University’s MURDOCK-NCRC Seed Funding Voucher Program.

“The voucher model has produced excellent results in labs at Duke by stimulating new ideas and building interdisciplinary teams. Investigators have accessed seed funding to generate preliminary proof-of-concept that enabled them to compete successfully for grants and sponsored programs,” Christian said. “We are excited to catalyze that kind of exchange at the NCRC, and look forward to generating and sharing groundbreaking research together.”

Investigators from Duke and its NCRC partners, as well as scientists from many other institutions with approved research initiatives, are using MURDOCK Study samples and accompanying data to better understand multiple sclerosis, memory and cognition, severe acne and healthy aging. Numerous proposals are under development for new study opportunities using the samples and developed infrastructure of the MURDOCK Study.

Duke University’s MURDOCK Study

The MURDOCK Study, or the Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis, is Duke University’s longitudinal health study based at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C. working to reclassify health and disease with advanced scientific technologies, expertise from Duke researchers and close collaboration with a strong network of local and regional partners. Duke launched the MURDOCK Study in 2007 with a $35 million gift from David H. Murdock, founder and developer of the North Carolina Research Campus. For more information, visit

David H. Murdock Research Institute

The David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) is a not-for-profit, research institute committed to collaborating with North Carolina Research Campus partners and other corporate, academic and government researchers who are seeking innovative and multi-disciplinary solutions to research challenges in human health, agriculture and nutrition. DHMRI offers a systems biology approach built on the application of state-of-the-art equipment that includes one of only two 950 megahertz actively shielded nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers in the country, a broad spectrum of advanced microscopy equipment, a comprehensive suite of genomic sequencing equipment, and an array of mass spectrometry technology required for cutting edge proteomic and metabolomic research. For more information, visit

North Carolina Research Campus

The N.C. Research Campus is home to corporate, academic and healthcare partners focused on advancing science at the intersection of human health, agriculture and nutrition. The NCRC is located on a 350-acre campus in Kannapolis, N.C., just north of Charlotte, home to the research power of eight world-renowned North Carolina universities, including Duke University, and General Mills, Sensory Spectrum, LabCorp, DataChambers, Dole Foods, Inc., Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, the David H. Murdock Research Institute, Cabarrus Health Alliance and Carolinas Healthcare System. For more information, visit


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