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Baylor College of Medicine News

Tropical medicine society honors Dr. Kristy Murray

For her commitment to the field of tropical infectious diseases as a veterinarian, epidemiologist, virologist and clinical researcher, Dr. Kristy Murray, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, has been awarded the Bailey K. Ashford Medal from The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The medal is awarded to professionals in early or mid-career for distinguished work in tropical medicine. The first medal was awarded in 1941.

Murray is associate vice-chair of research in the department of pediatrics at BCM and director of the Laboratory of Viral and Zoonotic Diseases at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“I am honored to receive this award and am thankful to the mentors who have helped me make my way in science throughout the years. I cannot emphasize the importance of quality mentorship for junior scientists to succeed in their careers,” said Murray, who is a part of the National School of Tropical Medicine at BCM.

“I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this award. Kristy uses innovative, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approaches to public health and has become a leader in the field of tropical infectious diseases, particularly West Nile virus,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at BCM.

Murray received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Preventive Medicine and Community Health in Clinical Investigations from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer conducting outbreak investigations, including the initial outbreak of West Nile virus in New York City in 1999, bubonic plague in Wyoming and unexplained deaths of injection drug users in Ireland. She also worked on the polio eradication campaign in Bangladesh. She received several awards at the CDC, including the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for her work on the West Nile virus Encephalitis Investigation Team and the Anthrax Investigation Emergency Response Team.

She then returned to Texas and joined the faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, after which she joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in 2012.

Murray’s research over the past 15 years has focused on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, including West Nile virus, dengue, St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Chagas disease and rabies.

Murray serves on the editorial board of the journal Epidemiology and Infection and has authored more than 50 scientific and technical papers.