Kathryn J. Pflughoeft Ph.D.: Biography/Education

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Diagnostics Discovery Laboratory

Education

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, Health Science Center, Houston, TX
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Research

Pathogenic microbes use secreted molecules to interact with, and modulate the activity of, their hosts as well as other micro-organisms. When present at elevated concentrations, such pathogen-specific molecules can be used as biomarkers for pathogen/disease detection. My primary research interest is the use of proteomic and molecular technologies for the identification of microbial biomarkers that are specific enough, and present at sufficient concentrations, to be used for the basis of diagnosis. Upon validation, identified biomarkers are applied to rapid, user-friendly detection platforms that can used to detect problem diseases globally. By paring the appropriate detection platform and biomarker, diagnosis can be infrastructure-independent, allowing the same device to be used in a primary care clinic in the United States or a traveling medical van in an infrastructure-limited country. Using an optimized pathway to biomarker discovery, and a mindset that the ability to diagnose an infection should be available anywhere, I am working on a team to tackle the problem of early diagnosis of infectious diseases that includes Lyme disease, Melioidosis, Tularemia, and antibiotic-resistant infections.


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