NCRC: Merck vice president to head Murdock Research Institute
By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó Dr. Michael Luther, former vice president for basic research at Merck Frosst Canada, has been named the new president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute at the N.C. Research Campus.
He will direct the institute, which owns and operates the Core Laboratory Building, the centerpiece of the Research Campus and one of the most complete life sciences labs in the world.
Merck, a pharmaceutical company, developed the allergy and asthma drug Singulair.
After a lengthy search that was delayed several times, the Murdock Research Institute announced Luther’s appointment today.
He started work in Kannapolis Monday.
“I wanted to join at this stage, when it’s in the very early days,” Luther said. “As I told Mr. Murdock, if you came to me five years from now when it’s up and running, I might not be as interested.”
David Murdock, billionaire owner of Dole Food Co., founded the Research Campus and officially opened the Core Lab last fall.
Luther grew up in Albemarle, where his grandparents and father worked in a textile mill. The Research Campus is built on the ruins of another textile manufacturing plant in Kannapolis.
Luther lives in Montreal, Quebec, where Merck Frosst Canada is headquartered, but said he will move back to North Carolina.
“This brings me home,” he said.
The opportunity “for setting direction and strategy” lured him to the job, he said.
The Murdock Research Institute and Core Lab have attracted scientists from around the world to Kannapolis.
Universities and private companies pay a fee to use the state-of-the-art scientific equipment in the Core Lab, including one of the world’s first actively-shielded 950 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers.
Murdock established his research institute as a public charity with a $150 million grant. The institute is designed to be a cataylst for major scientific discoveries in health and nutrition.
For more information, see Wednesday’s Salisbury Post.