Kathryn J. Pflughoeft

Kathryn Pflughoeft , Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Simplify the detection of infectious agents by exploiting microbial biomarkers present in host samples


Professional Biography

  • 2015 - present: Research Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV
  • 2014 - present: Research Scientist, DxDiscovery, Reno, NV         
  • 2013 - 2015: Postdoctoral Scholar, Laboratories of Paul Sumby, Ph.D. and David AuCoin, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV
  • 2010 - 2013: Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of James Versalovic, M.D. Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • 2005 - 2010: Graduate Research Assistant, Laboratory of Theresa M. Koehler, Ph.D., University of Texas, HSC-H, Houston, TX
  • 2004: Research Technician I, Laboratory of D. Scott Samuels, Ph.D., University of Montana, Missoula, MT
  • 2002 - 2003: Research Technician I, Laboratory of Paula I Watnick, M.D. Ph.D., New England Medical Center, Boston, MA

Research Interests

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.


2013 - 2015: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV    
2011 - 2013: Postdoctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
2010: Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Texas, Health Science Center, Houston, TX
2000: B.A., Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro