Posted April 02, 2007
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
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
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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