Duke Center for Living

Research at the Duke Center for Living (DCL) is rooted in translational research and includes explorations of risk assessment, disease prevention, and novel treatments for a range of disorders related to cardiovascular diseases, heart failure, lipid metabolism, diabetes, and other major illnesses.

Examples include:

  • Studies linking the body’s production of the chemical nitric oxide with blood vessel health, including arteries’ reaction to stress
  • Exploration of how exercise increases the production of an enzyme responsible for producing nitric oxide
  • Evaluation of genetic risk for stress-induced cardiovascular damage
  • Study of the role of central and peripheral factors and muscle metabolism on exercise limitations in chronic heart failure

DCL investigators led one of the first large-scale clinical trials to demonstrate how aerobic exercise promotes weight loss and benefits cholesterol levels (Studies of Targeted Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise — STRRIDE).

DCL researchers have expertise in basic science and conduct laboratory research in cell biology and metabolism, genetics and genomics, and the pathophysiology underlying disease. Research also includes clinical trials in pharmacological treatments as well as dietary, psychosocial, and exercise interventions for treating disease and improving quality of life.

The Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, led by Christopher B. Newgard, PhD, also located on the DCL campus, is an inter-departmental and interdisciplinary center for metabolic and nutritional research that includes collaborative projects with several DCL researchers. 

Clinical Studies


TRIUMPH is a randomized clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that evaluates the effects of diet, exercise, and weight management on blood pressure and cardiac risk factors in adults with resistant hypertension.

All participants will receive:

  • Personalized exercise prescription
  • Counseling on the DASH diet
  • Strategies for weight loss

Eligibility Criteria

  • Have high blood pressure
  • Currently taking 3 or more medications prescribed to control your high blood pressure
  • 35 years of age or older
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary
  • Not currently on a diet

Call 919-681-8789 for more information and enrollment.


UNWIND is a randomized clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that seeks to understand the benefits of exercise and medication in reducing anxiety in cardiac patients. 

Participants may receive: 

  • Supervised exercise training
  • FDA-approved anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication or placebo pill to reduce symptoms of anxiety 
  • Medical assessments, including measures of cardiovascular and psychological functioning 


  • Have diagnosed coronary heart disease
  • Experience symptoms of anxiety:nervousness, worry, tension, panic, restlessness, inability to relax
  • 40 years of age or older
  • Sedentary (exercise less than twice per week)
  • Willing to either take a pill or engage in an exercise program

Call 919-681-3093 for more information and enrollment.

Selected Publications 

  • Hauser ER, Crossman DC, Granger CB, Haines JL, Jones CJH, Mooser V, McAdam B, Winkelmann BR, Kraus WE. A Genome Wide Scan for Early-Onset Coronary Artery Disease in 438 Families: The GENECARD Study. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 75:436-447, 2004.
  • Cobb FR, Kraus WE, Root M, Allen JD. Assessing risk for coronary heart disease: beyond Framingham. Am Heart J 146(4): 572-580, 2003.
  • Keteyian SJ, Duscha BD, Browner CA, Green HJ, Marks CRC, Schachat FH, Annex BH, Kraus WE. Gender differences between men and women in skeletal muscle and response to exercise training in heart failure patients. Am Heart J 145: 912, 2003.
  • Kraus WE, Houmard JA, Duscha BD, Knetzger KJ, Wharton MB, McCartney JS, Bales CW, Henes S, Samsa GP, Otvos JE, Kulkarni KR, Slentz CA. Effects of exercise the amount and intensity of exercise on plasma lipoproteins. New Engl J Med 347: 1483, 2002.
  • Slentz CA, Duscha BD, Ketchum K, Johnson JL, Aiken L, Samsa GP, Houmard JA, Bales CW, Kraus WE. How much exercise is needed to improve body weight, body composition and waist circumference: STRRIDE – a randomized controlled study. Archiv. Int. Med. 164: 31-39, 2004.


William E. Kraus, MD
Chair, Research Committee  

Contact Information

Office: 1300 Morreene Road, Pmb 3022, Durham, NC, 27705-4509
Phone: 919-660-6604

Explore our research studies.