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Duke translational science institute to double research space on anniversary of paramount study

<p>Courtesy of Duke CTSI</p>

Courtesy of Duke CTSI

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of beginning a landmark study, the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute is set to double its Translational Population Health Research space this fall. 

The institute will be expanding its 5,000-square-foot research facility in Kannapolis, N.C., which houses TransPop’s studies and operations. TransPop’s research ranges from the causes of severe acne to the effects of bone fracture in older people with diabetes. The Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus and Kannapolis (MURDOCK) study is one of the main drivers of the expansion plans. The study aims to identify commonalities among four chronic diseases—osteoarthritis, obesity, cardiovascular disease and liver disease—through biomarker analysis and other factors. 

“With the growth in the TransPop research portfolio and the volume and complexity of participant study visits, the group has outgrown its existing space,” said Professor of Medicine Kristin Newby, who serves as the principal investigator of the MURDOCK study.

TransPop began the MURDOCK study in 2007 with preexisting data collected by Duke scientists. In 2009, researchers started recruiting participants from the Kannapolis area to contribute to the MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository by donating blood and urine samples as well as reporting health information. 

Since then, thousands of participants have joined the initiative, and TransPop currently has more than 12,000 subjects from around the area registered in their database. 

“The CTSI’s overall goal [is] to advance discoveries on human health in populations and communities,” said Professor of Medicine Ebony Boulware, director of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “MURDOCK is an integral part of helping CTSI meet that mission through the support of outstanding research. Ultimately, this study will identify linkages across major diseases and disorders in order to defeat some of today’s leading causes of illness and death.”

Through the MURDOCK study, researchers seek to identify linkages between major diseases and disorders with the goal of defeating common causes through medical treatment. The team is currently focused on collecting as much data as possible from its patients, preparing to do a deep investigative dive into the possible connections among the aforementioned diseases and others. Next steps will also take the MURDOCK study across borders, inviting collaborators from around the globe to help diversify the database. 

As TransPop moves into a larger space, the group will also expand its research to include other diseases. Through the study, researchers have built a database that holds tens of thousands of patient data files for use in future studies. 

TransPop transitioned to a 5,000-square-foot research facility in 2008, and an expansion is now in order to keep pace with the rapid rate at which the study has grown. The construction will add eight clinical exam rooms, a biospecimen collection, additional office space, a break room and dedicated conference space for scientific presentations and meetings, Newby said.

Editor's Note: The examples of other diseases that the group will research have been deleted, as TransPop already researches multiple sclerosis and cognitive health issues.

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