Dr. Simon Gregory

In 2007, our Principal Investigator Simon Gregory, PhD, published findings identifying the first gene in 20 years associated with MS. He has since continued to make significant contributions to MS research. He drives trailblazing research as a professor in the Duke University School of Medicine, Director of the Genomics Laboratory at the David H. Murdock Research Institute, and Primary Investigator of the Duke University MURDOCK Study MS studies.


Dr. Sabrina Cote

Dr. Sabrina Cote, PhD, joined Discovery MS in 2014 with over 15 years of experience in genetics and cell and molecular biology. Her graduate work advanced new models of how cells repair damaged DNA, and her postdoctoral work revealed potential novel mechanisms for spontaneous genome changes. As a staff scientist at DHMRI, she coordinates the multi-faceted Discovery MS research program.


David H. Murdock Research Institute

Home to Discovery MS and located on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) is a non-profit research institute that provides extensive scientific expertise and cutting-edge instrumentation resources.

To search for novel MS-specific biomarkers, Discovery MS partnered with DHMRI’s Analytical Sciences Laboratory to perform comprehensive metabolomics on serum and urine samples from participants in the MURDOCK Study’s MS study.

The DHMRI’s Genomics Laboratory has generated gene expression and genotype profiles for our MURDOCK Study participants and matched controls.

To study the role of exosomal miRNA in MS pathogenesis, the DHMRI’s In Vitro Sciences lab assisted Discovery MS in isolating exosomes from serum samples.

The DHMRI’s Bioinformatic Core performed bioinformatic analyses on RNA sequenced from MS patients’ cerebral spinal fluid.

Duke University MURDOCK Study

The MURDOCK Study is a Duke University longitudinal health study of the population of Kannapolis, North Carolina and neighboring communities. The study maintains a Community Registry and Biorepository consisting of self-reported health information and blood and urine samples from more than 12,000 community members. We have collaborated with the MURDOCK Study on several MS-focused sub-studies, including our broad MS study and a serial Primary-Progressive MS study. The MURDOCK Study was recently folded into the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

More Info

MS Study
Primary Progressive MS Study
Meet the Staff

Dr. Katherine Heller

An Assistant Professor at Duke University in the Department of Statistical Science and at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dr. Katherine Heller is applying statistical machine learning methods and models to our ‘omics datasets.


Dr. Farren Briggs

Dr. Farren Briggs, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, has expertise in using bioinformatics approaches to characterize MS susceptibility and progression, which he is applying to our ‘omics datasets.


Dr. Mari Shinohara

An associate professor in the Immunology Department of the Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Mari Shinohara used MURDOCK MS study samples to develop a new model illustrating the differences between MS patients who respond to the drug interferon beta and those who don’t.


Dr. Dennis Ko

Dr. Dennis Ko is an assistant professor in the department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology in the Duke University School of Medicine. He is using MURDOCK MS Study samples to investigate how genetic variants and immune response to bacterial infection is associated with MS risk.


Dr. Mariano Garcia-Blanco

Dr. Garcia-Blanco is a professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He has extensively collaborated with Dr. Gregory on the IL7Rα MS risk variant to reveal the mechanistic consequences of the variant.


Dr. F. Lee Hartsell III

As an assistant professor of Neurology within the division of MS and Neuroimmunology at Duke University Medical School and the Director of Connected Health for Duke’s DREAMS Center, Dr. Lee Hartsell splits his time evenly between patient care and MS clinical research.  His research interests primarily lie in the optimization of digital technologies to facilitate greater understanding of MS while also providing precision care.


The Duke Center for Research in Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis (DREAMS)

Dr. Simon Gregory is also a founding research director of The Duke Center for Research in Autoimmunity and Multiple Sclerosis (DREAMS), a multidisciplinary group of basic researchers and clinicians dedicated to improving patient care and furthering our understanding of MS and other autoimmune diseases.


MS Mosaic

Developed by a team that includes of our DREAMS collaborators, MS Mosaic is a Duke-sponsored research study built around a unique iPhone application that uses a mix of surveys and tasks to collect and track the health and symptoms of MS patients.