DCRI Newsletter

DCRI Newsletter

DCRI newsletters highlight areas in which our faculty and clinical operations experts are engaged in cutting-edge research. Learn how we are helping to advance pragmatic clinical trials, leverage electronic health records, open data to researchers worldwide, drive mobile health, and usher in a new era of precision medicine.

Winter 2019

Tracy Wang, MD

Welcome from Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc

It’s an exciting time at the DCRI. Next month, DCRI faculty, fellows, and staff will be in New Orleans to attend the 2019 Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology. We will be presenting new findings from a number of studies, including several late-breaking clinical trials. Since the founding of the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease in 1969, Duke has always been at the forefront of cardiac research, and we will be continuing that tradition in New Orleans.

That’s not all that’s happening at the DCRI, however. We recently launched the Behavioral Research Intervention Science Center, which studies outcome-driven behavioral interventions to create healthier communities. We’re also advancing our mission to share knowledge as demonstrated on our new Publications page on dcri.org.

You’ll learn about all of these things and more in this issue of the DCRI Newsletter. As always, we thank you for your interest and support.

Tracy Wang, MD, MHS, MSc
Director of Health Services and Outcomes Research
Duke Clinical Research Institute

“IPF research is a wonderful example of the strengths of the collaborative team at the DCRI. Our projects span from outcome registries to trials and include clinical and biostatistics faculty as primary investigators. We have built a network of really well-aligned investigators who care about IPF and about doing multi-center clinical research to move the field forward.” says Scott Palmer, MD, MHS

The Past, Present, and Future of IPF Research at the DCRI

Little is known about the cause of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a devastating disease that is characterized by progressive scarring of the lung tissue that affects a person’s ability to breathe and leads to death within three to five years of onset. However, a team of DCRI Respiratory medicine researchers is working to advance understanding of the deadly disease across the translational and clinical research spectrum.

Recent Awards


Robert Califf, MD

Robert Califf, MD, received the American Heart Association's 2018 Eugene Braunwald Award for Academic Mentoring during the association's annual meeting.


Susanna Naggie, MD, MHS

Susanna Naggie, MD, MHS, received the 2018 Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement, which is awarded to IDSA members or fellows aged 45 or younger.


Kevin Thomas, MD

A new scholarship named after Kevin Thomas, MD, was created to thank him for his advocacy for underrepresented populations and mentorship of junior faculty.

Welcome New Faculty Member: Jessilyn Dunn, PhD

Jessilyn Dunn, MDJessilyn Dunn, PhD, recently joined the DCRI as an assistant professor in Duke’s Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) and the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. With research centered on using large-scale biomedical data sets to predict health outcomes and design personalized interventions, Dunn will contribute to the growing focus on biomedical and health data sciences at Duke.

Upcoming DCRI Events

2019 ACC Scientific Sessions
March 16-18, 2019
New Orleans, LA
Booth #1819


2019 PAS Meeting
April 27-29, 2019
Baltimore, MD
Booth #406

Recent DCRI News

TRANSFORM-HF team pioneers new type of clinical trial

A new DCRI study called TRANSFORM-HF will compare two well-known diuretics, furosemide and torsemide, to determine which is most effective for patients with heart failure. Investigators hope that the trial will live up to its name: that its innovative approach will transform the clinical trial experience for researchers, site staff, and patients.

Early physical therapy could reduce opioid dependence

Early physical therapy could lead to fewer pain patients becoming dependent on opioids, according to new research co-authored by DCRI researchers. The team found that when patients with low back, shoulder, knee, or neck pain sought physical therapy early, their subsequent opioid use for the following year was reduced by approximately 10 percent.

Exposure to cannabis alters the genetic profile of sperm

As legal access to marijuana continues expanding across the U.S., more scientists are studying the effects of its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in teens, adults, and pregnant women. New research from DCRI and Duke investigators suggests men in their child-bearing years should also consider how THC could impact their sperm and possibly the children they conceive during periods when they’ve been using the drug.

PRECISE begins enrollment, looks to improve CT intervention

Drawing from insights and expertise gained from previous trials studying similar populations, a DCRI team has begun enrollment for PRECISE, a clinical trial investigating the optimal evaluation strategies for people with symptoms of coronary artery disease. The patients with the lowest risk will not receive a diagnostic test but will instead have their risk factors treated medically, and results could indicate that testing is not necessary in every chest pain evaluation strategy.

Explore DCRI Publications

Together, with our longstanding academic-government partnerships, sponsor collaborations, and investigator relationships, DCRI ensures that evidence moves forward, facilitating change through the science that has a measurable impact on patients' lives. The graphic to the right showcases our top collaborating organizations. Highlights from FY2018 include:

  • Collaborations with 1,700+ research organizations
  • 1,200+ publications
  • Diverse research areas, including pediatrics, hematology, orthopedics, and many more

Discover More About the DCRI

The Behavioral Research Intervention Science Center uses a behavioral economics approach to clinical research in an effort to engage participants and increase enrollment in trials and studies.

The DCRI’s Pragmatic Health Systems Research staff utilizes real-world data generated as a by-product of health care delivery to generate evidence and improve patient care.