Perspectives Online

Luther named president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute

Dr. Michael A. Luther has been named president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute of the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. Luther, a native of Albemarle and a graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, is an entrepreneurial leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

“Dr. Luther has a distinguished career in science and is a proven entrepreneur. His education, experience and local roots make him the perfect candidate to grow the DHMRI into the organization we all have envisioned,” said Dr. Steven Leath, president of the DHMRI board of directors and vice president of research for the UNC system.

“I am excited to join DHMRI and the NCRC at this important time in the development of the institute and the NCRC,” Luther said. “We have a real opportunity in Kannapolis to create a scientific community with a unique culture and collaborative environment.”

Prior to joining the DHMRI, Luther was the vice president of basic research and site head at Merck Frosst, where he led efforts at the Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research in Montreal. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the development of novel therapeutics for respiratory, endocrine and metabolic disorders.

Luther previously spent 15 years at GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park and the United Kingdom, where his last role was a vice president in discovery research. He also worked at the predecessor companies, Glaxo and Glaxo-Wellcome, in a number of roles, including creating and leading a new business venture called Predictive Medicine that integrated diagnostics and therapeutics.

Luther received his 1978 bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in biochemistry from N.C. State, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from St. Louis University School of Medicine and his MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, with post-graduate work as a Muscular Dystrophy Fellow at The Salk Institute.

He was honored by the College with its 2002-2003 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Life Sciences.

Funded through a private grant by David H. Murdock, DHMRI was established as a nonprofit organization to support groundbreaking research at the NCRC and to promote a level of unprecedented scientific collaboration and public-private partnerships in the areas of agriculture, nutrition and human health.