In Memoriam: Murray, Barbara E.

In Memoriam: Murray, Barbara E.


Barbara E. Murray, M.D., the J. Ralph Meadows Professor of Medicine of the Infectious Disease division at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), died April 11, 2024, at the age of 76.

Murray graduated cum laude in mathematics from Rice University in Houston in 1969, then attended University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, graduating first in her class (Ho Din Award) with her M.D. in 1973. She spent the next 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 McGovern Medical School at UTHealth as an assistant professor in 1980 and became professor in 1990, Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1995 and the J. Ralph Meadows Professor in 2003.

Murray was a nationally and internationally recognized expert on Staphylococcus aureus, antibiotic resistance, enterococci and enterococcal infections and bacterial pathogenesis. She conducted National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded basic and translational research, resulting in close to 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She published numerous reviews and editorials, served on NIH committees, DSMBs and study sections and served as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, to the European Food Safety Authority and to the EU’s Innovative Medicine’s Initiative.

Throughout her career, Murray was active in professional societies. She was a long-time member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (Academy). She served as an Academy Governor from 2018-2023. She served on the Program Planning Committee of ASM’s ICAAC meeting for 9 years and as the chair for 3 years, as an editor of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, on the Program Committee of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) and as secretary, treasurer and president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (ISDA).

Murray was a frequent visiting professor at other medical schools and a frequent invited speaker at national and international meetings. In 2015, she was honored as a Rice Distinguished Alumna for her many accomplishments. In 2017, she received the IDSA Alexander Fleming Award for lifetime achievements.

In addition to her scientific achievements, Murray was a proponent of exercise and physical fitness. She ran 2 marathons and 10 half-marathons and was an accomplished skier. She loved animals and travel, having visited about 65 countries in the course of her life.

Murray is survived by her husband, Ernesto "Ernie" Baca, as well as by her stepmother, Sally Murray, and Sally's sister, Carolyn Sowell; her cousin, Lucy Murray Howell; her niece, Marla Poag; her nephew, Graham Poag and wife, Melissa and their sons, Nathan, Caleb and Micah. She was predeceased by her sister, Martha Murray Poag; her husband, Dr. C. Wylie Poag; and their daughter, Tracy Poag.

To honor Murray and her many accomplishments, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has established the Barbara E. Murray, M.D., Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine Research.

For obituary published in the Houston Chronicle, see: Barbara Murray Obituary.
For obituary published on UT Health Houston website, see: In Memoriam: Dr. Barbara Murray.