Barbara E. Murray, M.D. is a 1969 cum laude graduate in mathematics from Rice University in Houston, Texas, and graduated first in her class (Ho Din Award and AOA) from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1973. She then spent 6 years training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed by 6 months in Thailand conducting research at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences. She joined the faculty at the University of Texas Houston Medical School as an assistant professor in 1980, rising through the ranks to Professor by 1990, became Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1995, and the J. Ralph Meadows Professor in 2003. She is also director of the UTHSC-H Center for the Study of Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens.
Dr. Murray is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in antibiotic resistance, enterococci, and bacterial pathogenesis, conducts NIH funded research, has served on a number of NIH committees, DSMBs and study sections, including as past Chair of the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, as well as on the FDA’s Anti-Infectives Advisory Committee; she has also served as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, to the European Food Safety Authority and to the EU’s Innovative Medicine’s Initiative. She been active in professional societies including serving as the chair of the Program Planning Committee of the American Society of Microbiology’s ICAAC meeting for 3 years; as an editor of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal published by the American Society of Microbiology (10 year term); on the Program Committee of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID); and as Secretary and/or Treasurer of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (6 years). She is a frequent visiting professor at other medical schools, a frequent invited speaker at national and international meetings and a contributor to UpToDate, Harrison’s Textbook of Internal Medicine, and Mandell’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Murray is president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2013-14.
Dr. Murray’s laboratory’s broad interests involve the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of resistance to antibiotics and bacterial pathogenicity, particularly relating to enterococci, and molecular epidemiologic typing methods. Recent acquisition of antibiotic resistance traits have led enterococci to be called antibiotic resistant “super bugs” because of the lack of commercially available effective antibiotics. Work in her laboratory has included the first description of enterococci producing beta-lactamase and of enterococci with high level resistance to all aminoglycosides. Work in pathogenicity, funded by two NIH grants, has been directed towards defining the enterococcal factors that contribute to infection, generation of isogenic mutants for studies of virulence, testing the potential protective effect of antiserum, identification of gene(s) encoding adherence to extracellular matrix proteins and characterization of a polysaccharide biosynthesis gene cluster of E. faecalis her group recently identified. Her description of E. faecalis pili (published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation) showed the importance of these structures to biofilm formation and experimental endocarditis and, subsequently, their importance in experimental urinary tract infection. There are active collaborations between her laboratory and the faculty in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, the Center for Matrix Biology of TAMU, and the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research has resulted in over 200 papers in peer reviewed journals, as well as many reviews, chapters, and invited articles.