Kendra Alfson, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist I | Dr. Ricardo Carrion's Lab | Disease Intervention & Prevention

Research Focus

Dr. Alfson serves as a Scientific Support Manager. Her work supports studies designed to advance vaccine and therapy development for high consequence pathogens and biothreats, such as filoviruses. A primary objective of these studies is to characterize Filovirus disease (FVD) in macaques following exposure via different routes, in order to develop well-characterized models that we then use for efficacy testing of therapeutics and vaccines.

Dr. Alfson received my Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio and then worked as a postdoctoral scientist at Texas Biomed. She has eight years of BSL3 and BSL4 experience with a background in molecular biology and virology. Her graduate and postdoctoral work focused on investigating the evolution of filoviruses and alphaviruses to characterize the biological effects of viral evolution.


Inside the Lab

Dr. Alfson coordinates and conducts experiments performed under the Maximum Containment Contract Research program directed by Dr. Ricardo Carrion. The team uses the maximum containment Biosafety Level 4 (ABSL-4) laboratory to safely study high consequence pathogens and follows rigorous quality standards to assure data quality and integrity.

Filoviruses are negative stranded RNA viruses known to infect humans and non-human primates (NHPs) with severe health consequences, including death. There is no FDA approved therapeutic or vaccine for filovirus infections. Filovirus vaccine and therapeutic studies often comply with the “FDA Animal Rule”, which requires the animal model used be well characterized and adequate for demonstration of efficacy. Our work aims to develop these well-characterized animal models and then use the models to provide advanced preclinical development of candidate vaccine and treatments for Filovirus disease.

Dr. Alfson has also worked on generating and characterizing virus stocks and lab assays, for use in these studies. In addition to her work in the lab, she prepares study protocols and interprets, analyzes, documents, and reports results for studies performed in collaboration with government and private Sponsors. She also acts as a study director, which involves overall responsibility for the technical conduct of a study following good laboratory practice (GLP) regulations.

Main Technologies and Methods Used

  • Deep sequencing
  • Quantitative PCR
  • Plaque assay
  • ELISA
  • Pharmacokinetics Analysis