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Charmaine D. Royal, Robert O. Keohane Professor

Charmaine D. Royal

Charmaine Royal is the Robert O. Keohane Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health at Duke University. She directs the Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and the Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation.

Dr. Royal’s research, scholarship, and teaching focus on ethical, social, scientific, and clinical implications of human genetics and genomics research, particularly issues at the intersection of genetics and "race". Her specific interests and primary areas of work include genetics and genomics in African and African Diaspora populations; sickle cell disease and trait; public and professional perspectives and practices regarding "race", ethnicity, and ancestry; genetic ancestry inference; and broadly defined genotype-environment interplay. A fundamental aim of her work is to dismantle ideologies and systems of racial hierarchy in research, healthcare, and society. She serves on numerous national and international advisory boards and committees for government agencies, professional organizations, research initiatives, not-for-profit entities, and corporations.

Dr. Royal obtained a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, master’s degree in genetic counseling, and doctorate in human genetics from Howard University. She completed postgraduate training in ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) research and bioethics 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 (Spring 2023):

    East Duke 204B, MW 01:45 PM-03:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.001, CULANTH 261D.001, GLHLTH 258D.001, SCISOC 258D.001, VMS 274D.001)
    East Duke 204B, F 01:45 PM-03:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as BIOLOGY 261D.01D, CULANTH 261D.01D, GLHLTH 258D.01D, SCISOC 258D.01D, VMS 274D.01D)
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. Callier, SL; Payne, PW; Akinniyi, D; McPartland, K; Richardson, TL; Rothstein, MA; Royal, CDM, Cardiologists' Perspectives on BiDil and the Use of Race in Drug Prescribing., Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, vol. 9 no. 6 (December, 2022), pp. 2146-2156 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Sodeke, S; Fletcher, FE; Brown, VA; Stone, JR; Wilson, CB; Franklin, TH; Royal, CDM; Bonham, VL, Herstory as an Important Force in Bioethics., The Hastings Center Report, vol. 52 Suppl 1 (March, 2022), pp. S83-S88 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Marshall, P; Royal, CDM; Chadwick, R, Translational Science, DNA Commercialization, and Informed Consent: The Need for Specific Terminology, Insights from a Review of H3Africa Projects., Public Health Genomics (January, 2022), pp. 1-8 [doi]  [abs]
  4. Bulgin, D; Asnani, M; Vorderstrasse, A; Royal, C; Pan, W; Tanabe, P, Stigma and quality of life in adults with sickle cell disease in Jamaica and the United States., Psychology, Health & Medicine (December, 2021), pp. 1-15 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Wagner, JK; Yu, J-H; Chong, JX; Royal, CD; Bamshad, MJ, Centering Equity in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances., Hgg Adv, vol. 2 no. 4 (October, 2021), pp. 100048 [doi]

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