Duke University Expands; Partners Up With Google Inc. to Study What Makes a Healthy Human

Published: Jan 28, 2015

Duke University Expands; Partners Up With Google Inc. to Study What Makes a Healthy Human
January 28, 2015
By Jessica Wilson, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Officials from the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) announced yesterday that Duke University would be expanding its presence at the campus in order to allow partners, including Google Inc., to collaborate with Duke University on the MURDOCK study.

David Murdock, California billionaire and Dole Food Co., started the research campus in 2006. The MURDOCK study was named for him, according to North Carolina’s Salisbury Post .

The study, which stands for the Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis, said it is working to “technologically identify linkages across major diseases and disorders.”

Duke opened its office the NCRC in 2008 to begin managing the MURDOCK study and will now expand to the Medical Office Building in order to gain flexible office space and exam rooms.

“We are excited to expand our presence in Kannapolis and move our clinical operations into the Medical Office Building, which will give us some much-needed breathing room,” said Ashley Dunham, director of operations for population health initiatives at Duke Translational Medical Institute (DTMI) who helped build the MURDOCK Study, in a statement. “Our data team, business development folks and most of our administrative staff will remain at 147 West Avenue in downtown Kannapolis, our home since 2008.”

“Having innovative organizations like Duke University and Google at the NCRC is exactly what Mr. Murdock envisioned,” said Lynne Safrit, president of Castle & Cooke NC, the developer of the NCRC, in a statement.

Robert Califf, whom the U.S. Food and Drug Administration named Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco on Monday, belongs to the leadership of the MURDOCK study. Duke University runs the study, the goal of which is to collect health information and biological samples from 50,000 volunteers in order “to improve the way diseases are diagnosed, treated, and potentially prevented and cured,” according to the study’s website.

While details of the partnership with Google have not been released, this past summer the Wall Street Journal mentioned in an article that Google X would be working with Duke and Stanford medical schools to extend an on-going study by the company.

The Baseline Study run by Google X would “collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people—and later thousands more—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be,” according to the WSJ in July.

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