Neglected Tropical Diseases Speakers

Eric Brown, PhD

Dr. Eric L. Brown received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Texas A&M University and Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston, TX. His graduate work focused on the immunosuppressive effects of ultraviolet radiation on numerous infectious agents including Schistosoma mansoni, Candida albicans, and Lyme spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, he received two grants from the Centers of Disease control to study mechanisms of bacterial attachment to host matrix components and for the development of a second-generation Lyme vaccine. He is currently an Associate Professor of Infectious Disease at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. His research projects involve studying immune evasion strategies employed by Staphylococcus aureus, the impact of the gut microbiome on changing glycemia status, and developing vaccination strategies for the prevention of diseases caused the causative agent of Chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi. His areas of expertise include recombinant protein technology, cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, vaccine design, microbiome research, and animal models of infectious disease. He teaches Parasitology, Medical Microbiology and Immunology and is listed as a co-inventor on three U.S. and international patents.

Kristy O. Murray, DVM, PhD

Dr. Kristy Murray is the Vice-Chair for Research for the Department of Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics in the section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. She also serves as the Assistant Dean for Faculty and Academic Development for the National School of Tropical Medicine. In 2018, she took on a new leadership role to become Director of the Center for Human Immunobiology at Texas Children’s Hospital. Following Dr. William T. Shearer’s death in 2018, Dr. Murray and others moved to formally name the Center in his honor to memorialize his career. Dr. Murray spent the first five years of her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At CDC, she served two years 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 illness and deaths in injection drug users in Ireland. She also had the opportunity to work on the polio eradication campaign in Bangladesh and research lyssaviruses in the Philippines. She received several awards at CDC including the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for her work on the West Nile virus Encephalitis Investigation Team and for the Anthrax Investigation Emergency Response Team.

Jill Weatherhead, MD 

Dr. Jill Weatherhead completed her undergraduate education at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and subsequently attended Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing, Michigan for medical school. Following medical school she moved to Houston, Texas to complete her residency at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Weatherhead completed a clinical post-doctoral fellowship in Combined Adult and Pediatric Infectious Diseases at BCM and Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Weatherhead is now an Assistant Professor in the Sections of Pediatric Tropical Medicine, Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Adult Infectious Diseases at BCM and quadruple board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, pediatric infectious diseases, and adult infectious disease with a sub-specialty certificate in tropical medicine and travelers health (cTropMed). As a physician-scientist, she has developed an active translational research platform investigating the underlying immunologic pathways that cause parasite-induced morbidity in the host. Dr. Weatherhead serves as an educator and academic advisor to all levels of medical and scientific trainees teaching didactically on topics related to infectious diseases, tropical medicine and global health through the National School of Tropical Medicine (NSTM) at BCM. She provides in-patient and out-patient care at Ben Taub Hospital and the Tropical Medicine Clinic as part of the Harris Country Health System in Houston, TX. Dr. Weatherhead has dedicated her clinical and research career to gaining a mastery of parasitology, tropical medicine and global health to provide care to underserved populations locally and globally.