William Erle Kraus
William Erle Kraus

William Erle Kraus

Richard and Pat Johnson University Distinguished Professor


My training, expertise and research interests range from human integrative physiology and genetics to animal exercise models to cell culture models of skeletal muscle adaptation to mechanical stretch. I am trained clinically as an internist and preventive cardiologist, with particular expertise in preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation.  My research training spans molecular biology and cell culture, molecular genetics, and integrative human exercise physiology and metabolism. I practice as a preventive cardiologist with a focus on cardiometabolic risk and exercise physiology for older athletes.  My research space has both a basic wet laboratory component and a human integrative physiology one.

One focus of our work is an integrative physiologic examination of exercise effects in human subjects in clinical studies of exercise training in normal individuals, in individuals at risk of disease (such as pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome; STRRIDE), and in individuals with disease (such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and cancer).

A second focus of my research group is exploration of genetic determinates of disease risk in human subjects.  We conduct studies of early onset cardiovascular disease (GENECARD; CATHGEN), congestive heart failure (HF-ACTION), peripheral arterial disease (AMNESTI), and metabolic syndrome.  We are exploring analytic models of predicting disease risk using established and innovative statistical methodology.

A third focus of my group’s work is to understand the cellular signaling mechanisms underlying the normal adaptive responses of skeletal muscle to physiologic stimuli, such as occur in exercise conditioning, and to understand the abnormal maladaptive responses that occur in response to pathophysiologic stimuli, such as occur in congestive heart failure, aging and prolonged exposure to microgravity.

Recently we have begun to investigate interactions of genes and lifestyle interventions on cardiometabolic outcomes.  We have experience with clinical lifestyle intervention studies, particularly the contributions of genetic variants to interventions responses.  We call this Lifestyle Medicopharmacogenetics.


exercise, skeletal muscle, energy metabolism, cell signaling, gene expression, cell stretch, heart failure, aging, spaceflight, human genetics, early onset cardiovascular disease, lifestyle medicine


Richard and Pat Johnson University Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine

2017 School of Medicine

Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine

2006 School of Medicine

Professor in the School of Nursing in the School of Nursing

2007 School of Nursing

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute in the School of Medicine

2015 School of Medicine

Member of Duke Molecular Physiology Institute in the School of Medicine

2013 School of Medicine


M.D. 1982

1982 Duke University

Medical Resident, Medicine

1986 Duke University

Fellow in Cardiology, Medicine

1988 Duke University

Publications, Grants & Awards

Offices & Contact

300 N. Duke Street
Durham, NC
Duke Box 104775
Durham, NC