Facts & Figures: Research

Duke University School of Medicine includes the research efforts of basic and clinical faculty members in 38 departments, centers, institutes and initiatives. Their combined efforts make Duke one of the largest biomedical research enterprises in the country with nearly $801.5 million in sponsored research expenditures annually. During Fiscal Year 2020, more than 18,200 patients participated in 2,800 active clinical research studies.

About Research


COVID-19 Response

Covid Alert graphic of Covid cellDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duke University School of Medicine has emerged as a leader in research related to virus biology, infection testing, therapeutic development and vaccine development. Scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore were among the first to culture the virus from an infected patient’s clinical sample at the beginning of the outbreak in January 2020. Duke researchers are also working in the areas of COVID-19 vaccine development, antibody testing, zoonotic disease and global health, effects of the disease on distinct populations such as children and older adults, and health disparities. Detailed list of coronavirus research and public health efforts at Duke


shot of a video screen showing a molecule spike on the coronavirus Duke to Start Trial of Promising COVID Antibody Treatment

The Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) has been given approval to launch a Phase 1 clinical trial of one of its most promising antibody treatments for COVID-19. This would be a temporary treatment until a vaccine is developed. The DHVI also is developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine that would combat future iterations of COVID-19 and similar viruses.


graphic rendering of the coronaviurs

Duke Researchers Pivot to Attack the New Coronavirus

In the race to understand the new coronavirus and generate solutions, Duke research teams are well underway. They work in the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI), the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), and the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, among many other centers, institutes, and departments across campus and around the world


Video thumbnail, pool testing at Duke. Student swabbing her own nose for pool testingKeeping A Close Watch on COVID-19 With Surveillance Tests 

Students returning to Duke University are participating in surveillance testing to help rapidly identify and isolate people who may have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Pool testing, which combines nasal samples from five people for a single test to allow more testing using fewer resources. 


Duke Clinical Research Institute to Expedite Study of COVID-19 Prevention in Healthcare Workers

A new rapid-response study designed and led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) seeks to engage healthcare workers across the nation to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their health and to evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infections in healthcare workers at high risk of contracting this novel coronavirus.


Slide: The Heatlh Disparities Pandemic‘A call to action’: Duke researchers, Durham community leaders confront COVID-19 health disparities in North Carolina‘A call to action’: Duke researchers, Durham community leaders confront COVID-19 health disparities in North Carolina

A panel of Duke University researchers and Durham community partners met in an online public forum to discuss the social, biomedical, and healthcare drivers behind these disparities and what can be done to help those impacted.


Global map of Duke One Health Research & Training NetworkSchool of Medicine hosts virtual COVID-19 research day to facilitate quick faculty collaboration during pandemic

More than 700 faculty, staff and students tuned into the School's  first COVID-19 Research Forum. The goal of the event was to highlight important work, share knowledge, discuss opportunities and encourage partnerships and collaboration among researchers.


Nobel Laureates Robert Lefkowitz, MD and Paul Modrich, PhD

Nobel Laureates

Duke University School of Medicine is proud to claim two Nobel Laureates among its faculty. Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., professor of medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was recognized in 2012 for his work on a class of cell surface receptors that have become the target of prescription drugs, including antihistamines, ulcer drugs and beta blockers to relieve hypertension, angina and coronary diseases. Paul Modrich, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was recognized in 2015 for mapping, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information.


Federal Medical Research FundingNIH Funding Ranked 8th.

Duke University received $429.4 million in 2019 from the National Institutes of Health to advance medical research, ranking 8th in the country among universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals that are awarded the taxpayer-based research dollars. Duke was the largest recipient of NIH grant funding in North Carolina for fiscal year 2020, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, which publishes an annual analysis of NIH funding. Eight clinical departments ranked among the top 10 for NIH research dollars and two basic science disciplines were also included among the top 10 for funding.  


DCRI: World's Largest Academic CRO

The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is the world’s largest academic clinical research organization. Its mission is to develop and share knowledge that improves the care of patients though innovative clinical research. The DCRI is a global leader in cardiovascular, infectious disease, pulmonary, neuroscience medicine, and pediatric clinical research and conducts studies across multiple other therapeutic areas. The institute unites the clinical and academic expertise of faculty within the School of Medicine with world-class operational staff to provide full-service clinical research organization capabilities in support of drug development and delivery, from Phase 1 studies to real-world outcomes and implementation science research. Since its founding in 1996, faculty in the DCRI have published over 15,000 papers in peer-reviewed journals.


Duke Human Vaccine Institute

rendering of a generic cellular structure floating in a circle

For nearly three decades, the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) has been at the forefront in the battle against AIDS and specifically in the quest for an HIV vaccine. Formed in 1990, the institute is home to interdisciplinary efforts across Duke to develop vaccines and therapeutics for HIV and other emerging infections, including COVID-19. In 2019, DHVI received a third, 7-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to fund the Duke Consortia for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development. That same year, DHVI received a large Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) federal contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop, manufacture and test in humans more durable, longer-lasting vaccines against influenza

Covid Alert graphic of Covid cellResearchers in DHVI are using their expertise and resources previously targeted toward developing countermeasures and vaccines for HIV, influenza and other infectious diseases to development treatment and prevention strategies for COVID-19. In 2020, DHVI received an historic appropriation from the state of North Carolina to fund these efforts to stop the pandemic.


Architectural rendering of the RTP CampusResearch Triangle Park Expansion

The Duke University School of Medicine is expanding into a newly-leased research center in the Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is located between Durham and Raleigh, N.C. The 273,000 square foot facility will open as soon as January 2021. The expansion into RTP was precipitated by a surge in new federal research grants to fund vaccine development.



AI Health

Duke AI Health is multidisciplinary, campus-spanning initiative designed to harness expertise and insights in artificial intelligence, machine learning and related quantitative fields to advance medicine, health care delivery, and improve the health of individuals and communities. AI Health has recently initiated a Fellowship Program in Health Data Science and is supporting the integration of clinical practice and data science to support continuous learning through multiple Learning Health Units embedded within clinical specialties


Science and Technology Initiative

In alignment with Duke University’s campus-wide commitment to advance science and technology, the Duke University School of Medicine has embarked on an aggressive recruitment effort to identify and hire distinguished scientists who are leaders in their field of study. As part of this effort, in 2020-2021, four new faculty members joined the Departments of Immunology, Neurobiology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Pharmacology and Cancer Biology.


Translating Duke Health

The Translating Duke Health (TDH) Initiative is a multi-disciplinary, multi-year commitment to harness the expertise and knowledge found at Duke to address society’s most significant scientific and health care challenges and fulfill the vision of making discoveries and transforming health for millions of people. Since 2017, 23 new faculty have been recruited to Duke as Translating Duke Health Scholars.