William Erle Kraus, MD

Professor of Medicine
Richard and Pat Johnson University Distinguished Professor
Professor in the School of Nursing
Member of Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 300 N. Duke Street, Carmichael Building 51-201, Durham, NC 27701
Phone (919) 360-8020
Email address william.kraus@duke.edu

My training, expertise and research interests range from human integrative physiology and genetics to animal exercise models to cell culture models of skeletal muscle adaptation to mechanical stretch. I am trained clinically as an internist and preventive cardiologist, with particular expertise in preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation.  My research training spans molecular biology and cell culture, molecular genetics, and integrative human exercise physiology and metabolism. I practice as a preventive cardiologist with a focus on cardiometabolic risk and exercise physiology for older athletes.  My research space has both a basic wet laboratory component and a human integrative physiology one.

One focus of our work is an integrative physiologic examination of exercise effects in human subjects in clinical studies of exercise training in normal individuals, in individuals at risk of disease (such as pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome; STRRIDE), and in individuals with disease (such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and cancer).

A second focus of my research group is exploration of genetic determinates of disease risk in human subjects.  We conduct studies of early onset cardiovascular disease (GENECARD; CATHGEN), congestive heart failure (HF-ACTION), peripheral arterial disease (AMNESTI), and metabolic syndrome.  We are exploring analytic models of predicting disease risk using established and innovative statistical methodology.

A third focus of my group’s work is to understand the cellular signaling mechanisms underlying the normal adaptive responses of skeletal muscle to physiologic stimuli, such as occur in exercise conditioning, and to understand the abnormal maladaptive responses that occur in response to pathophysiologic stimuli, such as occur in congestive heart failure, aging and prolonged exposure to microgravity.

Recently we have begun to investigate interactions of genes and lifestyle interventions on cardiometabolic outcomes.  We have experience with clinical lifestyle intervention studies, particularly the contributions of genetic variants to interventions responses.  We call this Lifestyle Medicopharmacogenetics.


exercise, skeletal muscle, energy metabolism, cell signaling, gene expression, cell stretch, heart failure, aging, spaceflight, human genetics, early onset cardiovascular disease, lifestyle medicine

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Cardiology, Medicine, Duke University, 1986 - 1988
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, Duke University, 1983 - 1986
  • M.D., Duke University, 1982



Duscha, Brian D., William E. Kraus, William S. Jones, Jennifer L. Robbins, Lucy W. Piner, Kim M. Huffman, Jason D. Allen, and Brian H. Annex. “Skeletal muscle capillary density is related to anaerobic threshold and claudication in peripheral artery disease.” Vasc Med, August 25, 2020, 1358863X20945794. https://doi.org/10.1177/1358863X20945794.

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Dorling, James L., Eric Ravussin, Leanne M. Redman, Manju Bhapkar, Kim M. Huffman, Susan B. Racette, Sai K. Das, et al. “Effect of 2 years of calorie restriction on liver biomarkers: results from the CALERIE phase 2 randomized controlled trial.” Eur J Nutr, August 14, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02361-7.

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Kokkinos, Peter, Leonard A. Kaminsky, Ross Arena, Jiajia Zhang, Barry Franklin, William Kraus, Helen Triantafyllidi, Dimitrios Benas, David J. Whellan, and Jonathan Myers. “New Equations for Predicting Maximum Oxygen Uptake in Patients With Heart Failure.” Am J Cardiol 128 (August 1, 2020): 7–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.04.049.

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Jiang, Rong, Kim M. Huffman, Elizabeth R. Hauser, Janet L. Huebner, Monica J. Hubal, Redford B. Williams, Ilene C. Siegler, and William E. Kraus. “The role of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) genetic variants in exercise training.” In Genetic Epidemiology, 44:491–92, 2020.


Abel, Haley J., David E. Larson, Allison A. Regier, Colby Chiang, Indraniel Das, Krishna L. Kanchi, Ryan M. Layer, et al. “Mapping and characterization of structural variation in 17,795 human genomes.” Nature 583, no. 7814 (July 2020): 83–89. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2371-0.

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Armstrong, Sarah C., McAllister Windom, Nathan A. Bihlmeyer, Jennifer S. Li, Svati H. Shah, Mary Story, Nancy Zucker, et al. “Rationale and design of "Hearts & Parks": study protocol for a pragmatic randomized clinical trial of an integrated clinic-community intervention to treat pediatric obesity.” Bmc Pediatr 20, no. 1 (June 26, 2020): 308. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-02190-x.

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Sanford, James A., Christopher D. Nogiec, Malene E. Lindholm, Joshua N. Adkins, David Amar, Surendra Dasari, Jonelle K. Drugan, et al. “Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC): Mapping the Dynamic Responses to Exercise.” Cell 181, no. 7 (June 25, 2020): 1464–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.06.004.

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Hall, Katherine S., Eric T. Hyde, David R. Bassett, Susan A. Carlson, Mercedes R. Carnethon, Ulf Ekelund, Kelly R. Evenson, et al. “Systematic review of the prospective association of daily step counts with risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and dysglycemia.” Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 17, no. 1 (June 20, 2020): 78. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00978-9.

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Belsky, Daniel W., Avshalom Caspi, Louise Arseneault, Andrea Baccarelli, David L. Corcoran, Xu Gao, Eiliss Hannon, et al. “Quantification of the pace of biological aging in humans through a blood test, the DunedinPoAm DNA methylation algorithm.” Elife 9 (May 5, 2020). https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.54870.

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Teng, Tiew-Hwa Katherine, Lauren Cooper, Wan Ting Tay, Nancy Luo, Abhinav Sharma, David Whellan, Inder Anand, et al. “Association between body surface area and prescribed doses of guideline-directed medications among international patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.” Eur J Heart Fail 22, no. 4 (April 2020): 754–58. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejhf.1648.

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