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Kristy Murray

Posted April 02, 2007

Kristy Murray

2007 Outstanding Alumni
Dr. Kristy O. Murray '98

Dr. Kristy Murray graduated from Texas A&M University with her DVM in 1998, but her career began a year earlier with the Centers for Disease Control in 1997. She was an epidemiology elective student, and she studied rabies vaccine failures in companion animals. Her work there earned her a postdoctoral fellowship following graduation from veterinary medical school, and she remained with the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia until 2002. During her fellowship, she had the opportunity to study lyssaviruses in bats in the Philippines, which sparked in her the excitement of working with emerging infectious diseases from a global perspective.

Immediately upon completing her postdoctoral work, she was one of 75 people selected from hundreds of applicants to be accepted into the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) at the CDC.

As an EIS officer, she traveled the world from New York City to Wyoming to Ireland, working on illnesses from West Nile virus to bubonic plague to unexplained illnesses and deaths in heroin users. In Bangladesh, she worked with the World Health Organization polio eradication program. During her three month assignment, she was able to help organize the National Immunization Day in which every child under the age of five is vaccinated for polio. In 2001, Murray was chosen to be profiled as EIS officer of the decade for the organization's 50th anniversary celebration-the only veterinarian to receive this honor.

Following her two years of service with the EIS, Murray went to work as a veterinary medical epidemiologist with the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC where she focused on preventing infectious diseases from entering the United States. During this time she also served as a member of the State Liaison Team following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the anthrax outbreak.

All of her work has led to her current position as an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston. Her current research and grants focus on the clinical investigation and epidemiology of West Nile virus. In 2003, she created the Student Epidemic Intelligence Society, which serves as a mechanism to allow students to gain experience working with the local health departments on outbreak investigations. In 2005, she was asked to assist the local health department with monitoring infectious diseases due to fear of their spread among Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the overly crowded Astrodome.

When she is not working, Dr. Murray enjoys spending time with her two precious daughters, Mikayla, 5 and Paige, 4.

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