Research Strategic Plan

research strategic plan

In 2019, the Department of Medicine invested considerable effort and resources to devising a strategic plan that will provide a roadmap for our research mission today and into the future.

This work was guided by a Research Planning Committee that convened throughout the first half of 2019, reviewing the current state of research in the Department, generating recommendations for strengthening our research efforts, and developing the following plan. Many of our faculty and research administrators participated and contributed ideas as part of this process—through interviews, a survey, and robust discussions at the 2019 Research Retreat.

The result of this combined effort is the clear, direct, ambitious, and ultimately achievable research strategic plan that follows.


We identified five strategies for achieving our vision.

We will foster the success of our current faculty by enhancing our faculty development, mentoring, and funding programs while also strengthening the pipeline of the next generation of outstanding investigators in Medicine.

Lead: Andrew Alspaugh, MD


  • Strengthen faculty career development programs (Xunrong Luo, Matthew Crowley)
  • Build a diverse and inclusive Department of Medicine (Laura Svetkey, Julius Wilder)
  • Foster a culture of outstanding mentorship in the Department (Alspaugh, Cathleen Colon-Emeric)
  • Expand physician-scientist recruitment and programmatic support (Rodger Liddle, Matt Hirschey)
  • Launch a Department partnership hires program (Xunrong Luo, Chris Holley)
  • Expand cadre of independent PhD investigators (Scott Palmer, Amy Porter-Tacoronte)

We will enhance our partnerships with other departments, centers, institutes, schools, and programs across Duke University.

Lead:  David Simel, MD, vice chair for veterans affairs


  • Duke Clinical Research Institute
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Durham VA Medical Center
  • Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
  • Pratt School of Engineering and MEDx
  • Duke Human Vaccine Institute
  • Duke Global Health Institute
  • Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine
  • and others

We will solidify a leadership position in data science by leveraging the clinical disease expertise of our faculty; building our data assets; and improving our data collection, storage and analytics resources.

Lead: Chetan Patel, MD, vice chair for clinical affairs


  • Cultivate DOM data assets into open science platform
  • Augment biostatistics & bioinformatics resources
  • Create new leadership role for data science
  • Implement learning health units
  • Continue implementation of Science Culture and Accountability Plan

We will foster a community and culture of rich scientific investigation by making research easier while achieving the highest levels of research integrity.

Lead: Erica Malkasian


  • Provide outstanding grants and administrative support to investigators
  • Position Duke as a leader in site-based research
  • Develop next-generation biorepository capabilities
  • Catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Expand international research efforts

We will invest in emerging research content and method areas that leverage our strengths and address important unmet patient-centered medical needs.

Lead: Heather Whitson, MD

Cross-cutting themes:

  • Immunology, inflammation & fibrosis
  • Aging, resilience & pain
  • Energy, obesity & metabolic disease


  • Precision medicine
  • Population health & disparities research
  • and more

Contact Us

To learn more about our research strategies and initiatives, contact