Charmaine Royal is Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University. Her interdisciplinary research, scholarship, and teaching focus on ethical, psychosocial, and societal issues in genetics and genomics on a global scale, primarily issues at the intersection of genetics/genomics and concepts of “race”, ancestry, and ethnicity. Her key areas of interest include: 1) race and human variation; 2) involvement of diverse populations in genetics and genomics; 3) genetic and genomic ancestry inference; and 4) interplay of genetic and non-genetic factors in health. Sickle cell is one of her research topics that spans these focus areas and her global interests. She has been involved in newborn screening and genetic counseling for sickle cell disease, and conducts research on the psychosocial, societal, and public health aspects of sickle cell disease and trait. She is particularly interested in understanding the separate and combined influences of social, behavioral, and genetic factors on phenotypic diversity in sickle cell disease and trait.
Dr. Royal serves as an advisor on several national and international committees and boards, including the: Steering Committee for the Registry and Surveillance System for Hemoglobinopathies (RuSH) program; Bioethics Advisory Committee of the March of Dimes Foundation; Expert Panel for the World Health Organization’s Grand Challenges in Genomics for Public Health in Developing Countries (Grand Challenges) Project; and Independent Expert Committee for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Initiative. She is the immediate past Chair of the Social Issues Committee of the American Society of Human Genetics.
Education and Training
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. Prior to joining the Duke faculty in 2007, Dr. Royal was faculty in the College of Medicine and the Graduate School at Howard University as well as Director of the GenEthics Unit in the National Human Genome Center at Howard University.