William Erle Kraus

Image of 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

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Richard and Pat Johnson University Distinguished Professor
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Professor in the School of Nursing
  • Member of Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information:

  • Office Location: 300 N. Duke Street, Carmichael Building 51-201, Durham, NC 27701
  • Office Phone: (919) 360-8020
  • Email Address: william.kraus@duke.edu
  • Web Page:


  • Duke University, 1988
  • Duke University, 1986
  • M.D. Duke University, 1982

Courses Taught:

  • CELLBIO 493: Research Independent Study

Representative Publications:

  • Huffman, KM; Samsa, GP; Slentz, CA; Duscha, BD; Johnson, JL; Bales, CW; Tanner, CJ; Houmard, JA; Kraus, WE, Response of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein to exercise training in an at-risk population., American Heart Journal, vol 152 no. 4 (2006), pp. 793-800 [10.1016/j.ahj.2006.04.019] [abs].
  • Connelly, JJ; Wang, T; Cox, JE; Haynes, C; Wang, L; Shah, SH; Crosslin, DR; Hale, AB; Nelson, S; Crossman, DC; Granger, CB; Haines, JL; Jones, CJH; Vance, JM; Goldschmidt-Clermont, PJ; Kraus, WE; Hauser, ER; Gregory, SG, GATA2 is associated with familial early-onset coronary artery disease., Plos Genet, vol 2 no. 8 (2006) [10.1371/journal.pgen.0020139] [abs].
  • Duscha, BD; Slentz, CA; Johnson, JL; Houmard, JA; Bensimhon, DR; Knetzger, KJ; Kraus, WE, Effects of exercise training amount and intensity on peak oxygen consumption in middle-age men and women at risk for cardiovascular disease., Chest, vol 128 no. 4 (2005), pp. 2788-2793 [10.1378/chest.128.4.2788] [abs].
  • Slentz, CA; Aiken, LB; Houmard, JA; Bales, CW; Johnson, JL; Tanner, CJ; Duscha, BD; Kraus, WE, Inactivity, exercise, and visceral fat. STRRIDE: a randomized, controlled study of exercise intensity and amount., Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), vol 99 no. 4 (2005), pp. 1613-1618 [10.1152/japplphysiol.00124.2005] [abs].
  • Hittel, DS; Kraus, WE; Tanner, CJ; Houmard, JA; Hoffman, EP, Exercise training increases electron and substrate shuttling proteins in muscle of overweight men and women with the metabolic syndrome., Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), vol 98 no. 1 (2005), pp. 168-179 [10.1152/japplphysiol.00331.2004] [abs].
  • Hauser, ER; Crossman, DC; Granger, CB; Haines, JL; Jones, CJH; Mooser, V; McAdam, B; Winkelmann, BR; Wiseman, AH; Muhlestein, JB; Bartel, AG; Dennis, CA; Dowdy, E; Estabrooks, S; Eggleston, K; Francis, S; Roche, K; Clevenger, PW; Huang, L; Pedersen, B; Shah, S; Schmidt, S; Haynes, C; West, S; Asper, D; Booze, M; Sharma, S; Sundseth, S; Middleton, L; Roses, AD; Hauser, MA; Vance, JM; Pericak-Vance, MA; Kraus, WE, A genomewide scan for early-onset coronary artery disease in 438 families: the GENECARD Study., American Journal of Human Genetics, vol 75 no. 3 (2004), pp. 436-447 [10.1086/423900] [abs].
  • Zhang, JS; Kraus, WE; Truskey, GA, Stretch-induced nitric oxide modulates mechanical properties of skeletal muscle cells., American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology, vol 287 no. 2 (2004), pp. C292-C299 [10.1152/ajpcell.00018.2004] [abs].
  • Houmard, JA; Tanner, CJ; Slentz, CA; Duscha, BD; McCartney, JS; Kraus, WE, Effect of the volume and intensity of exercise training on insulin sensitivity., Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), vol 96 no. 1 (2004), pp. 101-106 [10.1152/japplphysiol.00707.2003] [abs].
  • Kraus, WE; Houmard, JA; Duscha, BD; Knetzger, KJ; Wharton, MB; McCartney, JS; Bales, CW; Henes, S; Samsa, GP; Otvos, JD; Kulkarni, KR; Slentz, CA, Effects of the amount and intensity of exercise on plasma lipoproteins., The New England Journal of Medicine, vol 347 no. 19 (2002), pp. 1483-1492 [10.1056/NEJMoa020194] [abs].
  • Muoio, DM; MacLean, PS; Lang, DB; Li, S; Houmard, JA; Way, JM; Winegar, DA; Corton, JC; Dohm, GL; Kraus, WE, Fatty acid homeostasis and induction of lipid regulatory genes in skeletal muscles of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha knock-out mice. Evidence for compensatory regulation by PPAR delta., The Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 277 no. 29 (2002), pp. 26089-26097 [10.1074/jbc.M203997200] [abs].
  • Duscha, BD; Annex, BH; Green, HJ; Pippen, AM; Kraus, WE, Deconditioning fails to explain peripheral skeletal muscle alterations in men with chronic heart failure., Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol 39 no. 7 (2002), pp. 1170-1174 [10.1016/s0735-1097(02)01740-0] [abs].
  • Muoio, DM; Way, JM; Tanner, CJ; Winegar, DA; Kliewer, SA; Houmard, JA; Kraus, WE; Dohm, GL, Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha regulates fatty acid utilization in primary human skeletal muscle cells., Diabetes, vol 51 no. 4 (2002), pp. 901-909 [10.2337/diabetes.51.4.901] [abs].