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Susan Kay Murphy, PhD

Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Campus Mail: 701 W. Main Street, Suite 510, Room 5140, Durham, NC 27701
Phone: (919) 681-3423

My research interests are largely centered around epigenetics and the role of epigenetic modifications in health and disease. My research projects include studies of gynecologic malignancies, including working on approaches to target ovarian cancer cells that survive chemotherapy and later give rise to recurrent disease.  I have ongoing collaborative projects in which we investigate the nature of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis. DOHaD reflects the idea that our early environment plays an important part in shaping our risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders or other chronic health problems. I am currently focused on preconception exposures in males with studies of the impact of cannabis use on the sperm epigenome and heritability of these effects. My lab is also working on the effects of in utero exposures, with our primary work revolving around the Newborn Epigenetics STudy (NEST), a mother-infant dyad cohort recruited from central North Carolina between 2005 and 2011 and whom we have followed since early pregnancy.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University, 1998
  • B.A., University of North Carolina - Charlotte, 1992

Selected Grants and Awards


Ding, Jingzhong, Lindsay M. Reynolds, Tanja Zeller, Christian Muller, Kurt Lohman, Zhiqing Huang, Alberto de la Fuente, et al. “Alterations of a Cellular Cholesterol Metabolism Network is a Molecular Feature of Obesity-Related Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.” In Circulation, Vol. 130. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2014.


Kharma, Budiman, Tsukasa Baba, Noriomi Matsumura, Hyun Sook Kang, Junzo Hamanishi, Ryusuke Murakami, Melissa M. McConechy, et al. “STAT1 drives tumor progression in serous papillary endometrial cancer.” Cancer Res 74, no. 22 (November 15, 2014): 6519–30.

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Nye, Monica D., Cathrine Hoyo, Frances Wang, Amy P. Murtha, Joellen M. Schildkraut, Joanne Kurtzberg, Randy L. Jirtle, Zhiqing Huang, and Susan K. Murphy. “Abstract B22: Altered methylation profiles of imprinted genes in response to prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke in the Newborn Epigenetic STudy (NEST) cohort.” Epidemiology, Lifestyle, and Genetics, November 2014.

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Stevens, Ellen V., Regina Whitaker, Audrey Guinet, Ching-Yi Chang, Carole Grenier, Jeffrey Marks, Donald P. McDonnell, Susan K. Murphy, Andrew Berchuck, and Stephanie Gaillard. “Abstract 4570: Role of ERRalpha in ovarian cancer.” In Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics. American Association for Cancer Research, 2014.

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Kharma, Budiman, Tsukasa Baba, Noriomi Matsumura, Hyun Sook Kang, Ryusuke Murakami, Ken Yamaguchi, Junzo Hamanishi, Masaki Mandai, Susan K. Murphy, and Ikuo Konishi. “Abstract LB-123: Novel function of STAT1 pathway as a modulator of tumor progression in serous papillary endometrial cancer.” In Molecular and Cellular Biology. American Association for Cancer Research, 2014.

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Yamaguchi, Ken, Zhiqing Huang, Noriomi Matsumura, Masaki Mandai, Takako Okamoto, Tsukasa Baba, Ikuo Konishi, Andrew Berchuck, and Susan K. Murphy. “Epigenetic determinants of ovarian clear cell carcinoma biology.” Int J Cancer 135, no. 3 (August 1, 2014): 585–97.

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Hoyo, Cathrine, Anne Kjersti Daltveit, Edwin Iversen, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon, Bernard Fuemmeler, Joellen Schildkraut, Amy P. Murtha, et al. “Erythrocyte folate concentrations, CpG methylation at genomically imprinted domains, and birth weight in a multiethnic newborn cohort.” Epigenetics 9, no. 8 (August 2014): 1120–30.

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Vidal, Adriana C., Jennifer S. Smith, Fidel Valea, Rex Bentley, Maggie Gradison, Kimberly S. H. Yarnall, Anne Ford, et al. “HPV genotypes and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in a multiethnic cohort in the southeastern USA.” Cancer Causes Control 25, no. 8 (August 2014): 1055–62.

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Smeester, Lisa, Andrew E. Yosim, Monica D. Nye, Cathrine Hoyo, Susan K. Murphy, and Rebecca C. Fry. “Imprinted genes and the environment: links to the toxic metals arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.” Genes (Basel) 5, no. 2 (June 11, 2014): 477–96.

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