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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


Moylan, Cynthia A., Susan K. Murphy, Carole Grenier, Manal F. Abdelmalek, and Anna Mae Diehl. “DNA Methylation Profiles of Fibrosis-Associated Gene in Blood Reflects Liver Fibrosis Severity in Human Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” In Hepatology, 62:648A-649A. WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2015.


Murphy, Susan K., Erin Erginer, Zhiqing Huang, Zachary Visco, and Cathrine Hoyo. “Genotype-Epigenotype Interaction at the IGF2 DMR.” Genes (Basel) 6, no. 3 (August 28, 2015): 777–89.

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Huang, Zhiqing, Zachery Visco, Gregory Sfakianos, Regina Whitaker, Andrew Berchuck, and Susan Murphy. “Abstract POSTER-BIOL-1319: Temporal shifts in the epigenetic regulation of tight junctions from primary to recurrent ovarian cancer.” In Biology of Ovarian Cancer. American Association for Cancer Research, 2015.

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Huang, Zhiqing, Zachery Visco, Gregory Sfakianos, Regina Whitaker, Andrew Berchuck, and Susan K. Murphy. “Abstract 2236: Emergence of epigenetic regulation of tight junction genes in recurrent serous epithelial ovarian cancer.” In Tumor Biology. American Association for Cancer Research, 2015.

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Varadaraj, Archana, Pratik Patel, Anne Serrao, Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, Nam Y. Lee, Amir Jazaeri, Susan Murphy, and Karthikeyan Mythreye. “Abstract 3912: GDF2 promotes anoikis susceptibility in ovarian and breast epithelia.” In Molecular and Cellular Biology. American Association for Cancer Research, 2015.

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Vidal, Adriana C., Viktoriya Semenova, Thomas Darrah, Avner Vengosh, Zhiqing Huang, Katherine King, Monica D. Nye, et al. “Maternal cadmium, iron and zinc levels, DNA methylation and birth weight.” Bmc Pharmacol Toxicol 16 (July 15, 2015): 20.

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King, Katherine, Susan Murphy, and Cathrine Hoyo. “Epigenetic regulation of Newborns' imprinted genes related to gestational growth: patterning by parental race/ethnicity and maternal socioeconomic status.” J Epidemiol Community Health 69, no. 7 (July 2015): 639–47.

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Baba, Tsukasa, Hyun Sook Kang, Yuko Hosoe, Budiman Kharma, Kaoru Abiko, Noriomi Matsumura, Junzo Hamanishi, et al. “Menstrual cyclic change of metastin/GPR54 in endometrium.” Med Mol Morphol 48, no. 2 (June 2015): 76–84.

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Tang, Xiaohu, Melissa M. Keenan, Jianli Wu, Chih-An Lin, Laura Dubois, J Will Thompson, Stephen J. Freedland, Susan K. Murphy, and Jen-Tsan Chi. “Comprehensive profiling of amino acid response uncovers unique methionine-deprived response dependent on intact creatine biosynthesis.” Plos Genet 11, no. 4 (April 2015): e1005158.

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