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Charmaine D. Royal, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Biology and Genome Sciences & Policy Certificate and Director of the Reginaldo Howard Scholars Program and Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute of Duke Global Health Institute and Core Member of the Center for Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research and Associate Professor in Community and Family Medic

Charmaine D. Royal

Charmaine Royal is associate professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, and Community & Family Medicine at Duke University. She is also core faculty in the Duke Initiative for Science and Society, faculty affiliate in the Duke Global Health Institute, and senior fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Dr. Royal’s research, scholarship, and teaching focus on social and ethical issues in genetics and genomics on a global scale, particularly the intersection of 'race' and genetics, its policy implications and practical interventions. She serves on several national and international professional committees and boards related to these topics. She directs the Duke Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference (GRID) that aims to inform and transform the concepts, uses, and impacts of 'race' in research, healthcare, and society.

Dr. Royal received a master’s in genetic counseling and a 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

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. McDonald, MA; Creary, MS; Powell, J; Daley, L-A; Baker, C; Royal, CD, Perspectives and Practices of Athletic Trainers and Team Physicians Implementing the 2010 NCAA Sickle Cell Trait Screening Policy., Journal of Genetic Counseling, vol. 26 no. 6 (December, 2017), pp. 1292-1300 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Ifekwunigwe, JO; Wagner, JK; Yu, J-H; Harrell, TM; Bamshad, MJ; Royal, CD, A Qualitative Analysis of How Anthropologists Interpret the Race Construct, American Anthropologist, vol. 119 no. 3 (September, 2017), pp. 422-434 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Christensen, KD; Uhlmann, WR; Roberts, JS; Linnenbringer, E; Whitehouse, PJ; Royal, CDM; Obisesan, TO; Cupples, LA; Butson, MB; Fasaye, G-A; Hiraki, S; Chen, CA; Siebert, U; Cook-Deegan, R; Green, RC, A randomized controlled trial of disclosing genetic risk information for Alzheimer disease via telephone., Genetics in Medicine (July, 2017) [doi]  [abs]
  4. Blanchard, JW; Tallbull, G; Wolpert, C; Powell, J; Foster, MW; Royal, C, Barriers and Strategies Related to Qualitative Research on Genetic Ancestry Testing in Indigenous Communities., Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, vol. 12 no. 3 (July, 2017), pp. 169-179 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Treadwell, MJ; Makani, J; Ohene-Frempong, K; Ofori-Acquah, S; McCurdy, S; de Vries, J; Bukini, D; Dennis-Antwi, J; Kamga, KK; Mbekenga, C; Wonkam, ET; Tangwa, G; Royal, CD; Wonkam, A; as members of the H3Africa Consorti, , Stakeholder Perspectives on Public Health Genomics Applications for Sickle Cell Disease: A Methodology for a Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Qualitative Research Study, OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, vol. 21 no. 6 (June, 2017), pp. 323-332 [doi]

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