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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


Murphy, Susan K., Catherine M. Nolan, Zhiqing Huang, Katerina S. Kucera, Brad A. Freking, Timothy P. L. Smith, Kreg A. Leymaster, Jennifer R. Weidman, and Randy L. Jirtle. “Callipyge mutation affects gene expression in cis: a potential role for chromatin structure.” Genome Res 16, no. 3 (March 2006): 340–46.

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Huang, Zhiqing, Yaqing Wen, Ruby Shandilya, Jeffrey R. Marks, Andrew Berchuck, and Susan K. Murphy. “High throughput detection of M6P/IGF2R intronic hypermethylation and LOH in ovarian cancer.” Nucleic Acids Res 34, no. 2 (2006): 555–63.

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Berchuck, Andrew, Edwin S. Iversen, Johnathan M. Lancaster, Jennifer Pittman, Jingqin Luo, Paula Lee, Susan Murphy, et al. “Patterns of gene expression that characterize long-term survival in advanced stage serous ovarian cancers.” Clin Cancer Res 11, no. 10 (May 15, 2005): 3686–96.

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Spillman, Monique A., Joellen M. Schildkraut, Susan Halabi, Patricia Moorman, Brian Calingaert, Rex C. Bentley, Jeffrey R. Marks, Susan Murphy, and Andrew Berchuck. “Transforming growth factor beta receptor I polyalanine repeat polymorphism does not increase ovarian cancer risk.” Gynecol Oncol 97, no. 2 (May 2005): 543–49.

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Wang, Wei, Gudrun Huper, Yueqi Guo, Susan K. Murphy, John A. Olson, and Jeffrey R. Marks. “Analysis of methylation-sensitive transcriptome identifies GADD45a as a frequently methylated gene in breast cancer.” Oncogene 24, no. 16 (April 14, 2005): 2705–14.

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Murphy, Susan K., Brad A. Freking, Timothy P. L. Smith, Kreg Leymaster, Catherine M. Nolan, Andrew A. Wylie, Heather K. Evans, and Randy L. Jirtle. “Abnormal postnatal maintenance of elevated DLK1 transcript levels in callipyge sheep.” Mamm Genome 16, no. 3 (March 2005): 171–83.

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Schildkraut, J. M., A. Berchuck, S. Murphy, J. Marks, P. Moorman, B. Calingaert, and S. Halabi. “Trinucleotide repeat polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene and risk of ovarian cancer.” In Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 13:1897S-1897S. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH, 2004.


Weidman, Jennifer R., Susan K. Murphy, Catherine M. Nolan, Fred S. Dietrich, and Randy L. Jirtle. “Phylogenetic footprint analysis of IGF2 in extant mammals.” Genome Res 14, no. 9 (September 2004): 1726–32.

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Murphy, S. K., A. A. Wylie, K. J. Coveler, P. D. Cotter, P. R. Papenhausen, V. R. Sutton, L. G. Shaffer, and R. L. Jirtle. “Epigenetic detection of human chromosome 14 uniparental disomy.” Hum Mutat 22, no. 1 (July 2003): 92–97.

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