ncrc murdock board

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Emily Ford
Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS ó Alongside a board of directors that reads like a who’s who of science and academia, David H. Murdock will decide next week how to outfit one-third of the Core Laboratory.
After months of negotiations, the California billionaire has announced all but one member of his nonprofit foundation’s board.
The board will meet Monday in Murdock’s home near Kannapolis to determine how to spend about $20 million on world-class equipment for the Core Lab, the centerpiece of the N.C. Research Campus, said board President Dr. Steve Leath.
Murdock has already purchased the world’s first 950 megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the Core Lab.
Next week’s $20 million expenditure will outfit about 30 percent of the Core Lab, relying heavily on requests submitted last year by the seven universities with a presence on the campus, Leath said. The board is obligated in a Memorandum of Understanding to buy a “certain body of equipment,” he said.
The David H. Murdock Research Institute, a public charity, will own and operate the Core Lab.
Murdock will share power on the institute’s nine-member board with Duke University and the University of North Carolina system.
Each entity gets three seats.
Murdock will serve as chairman of the board. He has appointed his friend and science adviser Dr. Andrew Conrad to the board but has yet to fill his third seat.
The UNC system has named Leath, Dr. Tony Waldrop and Dr. Steven Lommel to the board.
Duke has chosen Dr. Victor Dzau, Dr. Robert Califf and Dr. Nancy Andrews.
“The board will be deciding major priorities for the Core Lab,” Leath said. “Hopefully we will eventually be funding research.”
The sprawling N.C. Research Campus will focus on advancing human health and nutrition as well as the genetic improvement of crops and the creation of “super” foods.
The Core Lab occupies only the basement and top floor, or about 105,000 square feet, of the four-story David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building, which rises above the ruins of an old textile mill that Murdock once owned.
The board is aggressively recruiting a scientist to manage the Core Lab, which should open this summer. Leath hired an international head-hunting firm last week and wants the names of three candidates within 45 days.
“Unfortunately because of such time constraints, we will do all of this simultaneously,” Leath said.
The board includes:
– Murdock, sole owner of Dole Food Co., Castle & Cooke and the largest landowner in Kannapolis.
– Conrad, Murdock’s adviser and co-founder of LabCorp’s National Genetics Institute in Los Angeles. Chief scientific officer of the N.C. Research Campus.
– Leath, UNC system vice president for research. Former associate dean for research at N.C. State University.
– Lommel, N.C. State University interim associate dean for research and assistant vice chancellor. Directs the Fruit and Vegetable Science Institute in Kannapolis.
– Waldrop, UNC at Chapel Hill vice chancellor for research and economic development.
– Califf, Duke vice chancellor for clinical research and director of Duke Translational Medicine Institute. Principle investigator for the MURDOCK Study at the N.C. Research Campus.
– Dzau, Duke chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System.
– Andrews, Duke vice chancellor for academic affairs and first woman appointed dean of Duke’s School of Medicine.
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