MURDOCK study hires data specialist, two others

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, April 16, 2015

KANNAPOLIS — Duke University has hired three additional staff members for the MURDOCK Study, a medical research project based at the North Carolina Research Campus.

The addition of a clinical data specialist and two clinical trials assistants brings the MURDOCK Study staff total to 36, including 28 people working in Kannapolis and eight in Durham. Managed by the Duke Translational Research Institute, the MURDOCK Study will expand this summer into a 5,000-square-foot clinical space in the new Medical Office Building at the research campus.

The MURDOCK Study enrolls adults living in Cabarrus County, Kannapolis, China Grove, Landis and other parts of Rowan, Stanly and Mecklenburg counties in a community registry. More than 11,400 people have enrolled so far.

Scientists will use the community registry to identify links across major diseases and disorders and find ways to treat and even defeat some of today’s leading causes of illness and death.

New staff members are:

• Kimberly Ellis, clinical data specialist

Ellis supports the development of protocols, standard operating procedures and other data management tools for MURDOCK Study projects. She also coordinates review teams with the data management group to generate, resolve and track data queries to assure the integrity of the clinical data.

After working with the MURDOCK Study from 2012 to 2014, Ellis re-joined Duke and the MURDOCK team this month following a year at PPD, a global life science services firm headquartered in Research Triangle Park.



Ellis received a master’s degree in business administration from Strayer University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from North Carolina Central University. An Athens, Ga. native, she enjoys living in Charlotte and loves spinning and yoga in her free time.

• Sam Densen, clinical trials assistant

Densen joined the MURDOCK Study team as an intern in June 2014 to bolster recruitment and community engagement efforts in the Davidson and Huntersville area. He also assists with marketing and communications and serves as webmaster.

In his new full-time role as clinical trials assistant, Densen is involved with various aspects of participant enrollment, including scheduling and sample processing.



He earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Davidson College, where he volunteered for Serenity House of Mooresville and served as student volunteer coordinator for the Community Free Clinic of Concord.

Densen said he is passionate about bridging inequalities in cancer treatment. He worked as an intern for the Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

• Christopher Lewis, clinical trials assistant

Lewis joined the MURDOCK team in 2013 as an intern while earning a bioengineering degree from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. His responsibilities continued to increase, and he became a clinical trials assistant in February 2015. His new role includes clinical work and overseeing current and future MURDOCK Study participant contacts and scheduling.



Originally from Dallas, Lewis earned a degree in computer programming and software engineering but discovered a passion for the biological sciences and returned to school at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for a degree in recombinant DNA technologies and bioengineering. He is pursuing a graduate degree in biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and plans to focus on oncology and immunology.

Lewis and his wife are active volunteers with the American Pit Bull Foundation and One Love of Charlotte.

The MURDOCK Study aims to reclassify disease using advanced scientific technologies, experts from Duke University and their collaborators, participation from the community and a network of partners. Volunteers give about 3 tablespoons of blood and 3 tablespoons of urine one time and complete a health questionnaire, which they update every year.

Duke launched the MURDOCK Study in 2007 with a $35 million gift from David H. Murdock, founder and developer of the Research Campus. The study’s name stands for Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease Of Cabarrus/Kannapolis.

Enrollment takes about 30 minutes and is offered at nine convenient locations. To start the process, call 704-250-5861 or visit Participants are compensated.