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Charmaine D. Royal, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Associate Research Professor of Global Health and Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Community Health of Family Medicine and Community Health, Community Health and Associate Professor of Biology and Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Charmaine D. Royal

Charmaine Royal is Associate Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health at Duke University. She also has appointments in the Duke Initiative for Science & Society and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. At the Duke Social Science Research Institute, she serves as director for both the Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

Dr. Royal’s research, scholarship, and teaching are interdisciplinary and global, focusing on scientific, clinical, ethical, social, and policy implications of genetics and genomics research, particularly issues at the intersection of genetics and constructs of race. Her major interest is in addressing root causes and implementing sustainable solutions regarding problems of race and racism in research, healthcare, and society. She serves on numerous domestic and international professional committees and boards pertaining to her work.

Dr. Royal received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology, master’s in genetic counseling and doctorate in human genetics from Howard University. She completed postgraduate training in bioethics and ELSI (ethical, legal, and social implications) research at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and in epidemiology and behavioral medicine at Howard University Cancer Center.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  234 Friedl Bldg, Box 90252, Durham, NC 27708-0141
Office Phone:  (919) 668-6515
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2019):

    East Duke 209, MW 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.001, CULANTH 261D.001, GLHLTH 258D.001, SCISOC 258D.001, VMS 274D.001)
    Class Bldg 240, F 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.01D, CULANTH 261D.01D, GLHLTH 258D.01D, SCISOC 258D.01D, VMS 274D.01D)
    West Duke 108B, F 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.02D, CULANTH 261D.02D, GLHLTH 258D.02D, SCISOC 258D.02D, VMS 274D.02D)
    Friedl Bdg 126, F 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.03D, CULANTH 261D.03D, GLHLTH 258D.03D, SCISOC 258D.03D, VMS 274D.03D)
    West Duke 08A, F 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.04D, CULANTH 261D.04D, GLHLTH 258D.04D, SCISOC 258D.04D, VMS 274D.04D)
Teaching (Spring 2020):

    Class Bldg 136, MW 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 660.01, GLHLTH 672.01)
Office Hours:

By appointment

Ph.D.Howard University1997
M.S.Howard University1992
B.S., Microbiology,Howard University1988

Diaspora Studies
Cultural Studies
Research Interests: Conceptualization and use of race in science and medicine, Genetic and genomic ancestry inference, Involvement of diverse populations in genetics and genomics, Interplay of biological and non-biological factors in health, Global health, African Diaspora

My research, scholarship, and teaching focus on ethical, psychosocial, and societal issues in genetics and genomics, particularly intersections with constructs of race, ethnicity, and ancestry. Through my work I seek to: 1) foster ethical conduct in science, medicine, and society with regard to the use of these constructs and the application of genetic and genomic technologies that infer them; 2) advance holistic approaches to understanding disease and promoting optimal health and overall well-being for individuals and populations; and 3) develop a model of interdisciplinary work that can serve as a template or example for others who wish to do similar work. My current empirical research includes studies on: race, genetics, and genetic ancestry testing in the US; the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sickle cell trait testing; sickle cell disease in the US, Cameroon, South Africa, and Jamaica; and BiDil - the first and only drug approved by the FDA to treat a specific 'racial' group.


Adaptation, Physiological • Adaptation, Psychological • Adolescent • Adolescent Psychology • Adult • African Americans • Aged • Aged, 80 and over • Alleles • Alzheimer's disease • Analysis of Variance • Anemia, Sickle Cell • Attitude to Health • Awareness • Child • Cultural Characteristics • Data Collection • DNA • Educational Status • Ethnic Groups • European Continental Ancestry Group • Faculty • Female • Gene-Environment Interaction • Genes • Genetic Predisposition to Disease • Genetic Research • Genetic Testing • Genome • Genotype • Health • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice • Health Literacy • Hispanic Americans • Human Genome Project • Humans • Information Services • Longitudinal Studies • Male • Middle Aged • Patients • Polymorphism, Genetic • Population Groups • Prejudice • Questionnaires • Regression Analysis • Risk Assessment • Risk Factors • Science • Self Concept • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins • Sex Factors • Social Environment • Social Networking • Social Support • Socioeconomic Factors • Students • United States • Universities • Young Adult

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Melissa Creary  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Chantelle Wolpert (2012 - present)  
  • Jennifer Wagner (2010 - 2011)  
  • Charles Jonassaint (2009 - 2010)  
  • Britt Rusert (2009 - 2010)  
  • Brooke Cunningham (2008 - 2010)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Blanchard, JW; Outram, S; Tallbull, G; Royal, CDM, “We don’t need a swab in our mouth to prove who we are”: Identity, resistance, and adaptation of genetic ancestry testing among Native American Communities, Current Anthropology, vol. 60 no. 5 (October, 2019), pp. 637-655 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Bulgin, D; Tanabe, P; Asnani, M; Royal, CDM, Twelve tips for teaching a comprehensive disease-focused course with a global perspective: A sickle cell disease example., Medical Teacher, vol. 41 no. 3 (March, 2019), pp. 275-281 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Baker, C; Powell, J; Le, D; Creary, MS; Daley, L-A; McDonald, MA; Royal, CD, Implementation of the NCAA Sickle Cell Trait Screening Policy: A Survey of Athletic Staff and Student-athletes., Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 110 no. 6 (December, 2018), pp. 564-573 [doi]  [abs]
  4. Nelson, SC; Yu, J-H; Wagner, JK; Harrell, TM; Royal, CD; Bamshad, MJ, A content analysis of the views of genetics professionals on race, ancestry, and genetics., Ajob Empirical Bioethics, vol. 9 no. 4 (October, 2018), pp. 222-234 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Outram, S; Graves, JL; Powell, J; Wolpert, C; Haynie, KL; Foster, MW; Blanchard, JW; Hoffmeyer, A; Agans, RP; Royal, CDM, Genes, Race, and Causation: US Public Perspectives About Racial Difference, Race and Social Problems, vol. 10 no. 2 (June, 2018), pp. 79-90 [doi]  [abs]

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