Kirsten St. George

Kirsten St. George

Clinical Professor
School of Public Health
Biomedical Sciences

MAppSc, Cell Biology, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
PhD, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology/Virology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Kirsten smiles at the camera.

Dr. St. George joined the Wadsworth Center in 2004, following previous appointments at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Royal Hobart Hospital in Tasmania, and the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science and University of Adelaide in South Australia. She is Director of Virology and Chief of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases (LVD) at the Wadsworth Center, and a Clinical Professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department at U. Albany. The LVD comprises several service laboratories and research teams and specialty reference services in viral encephalitis, enteric viruses, and antiviral resistance. Detection and characterization of viruses is with classical and molecular techniques, many of which were developed in the LVD, on specimens received for reference and surveillance testing and the investigation of outbreaks. The laboratory is also responsible for complex public health data management and federal reporting, and provides training for graduate students, fellows, and international laboratory trainees. Dr. St. George is the Principal Investigator for national reference centers for Influenza Surveillance, Vaccine Preventable Diseases, and Influenza Antiviral Resistance, and has federal funding and corporate support for additional influenza surveillance programs and the development of diagnostic devices. Within the LVD Dr. St. George also directs the Special Projects Unit, with the investigation of new testing platforms and chemistries, as well as studies on the genomic characterization and evolution of multiple viruses and drug resistance in influenza. Most recently efforts have focused on the optimization of detection methods, pathogenesis and genomic disease associations for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The LVD addressed many issues during response efforts to COVID-19 including major test surges and was the second facility in the US to obtain emergency use authorization from the FDA in February 2020 for a molecular SARS-CoV-2 test. The laboratory also established a sequencing pipeline for state-wide surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 strains in March 2020, which was expanded significantly at the end of that year to enhance monitoring for variants of interest and variants of concern. Dr. St. George has appointments on several national and international advisory committees and is the author of more than 150 publications. She is the recipient of five New York State Commissioner Awards for her response work on major disease outbreaks, the 2017 international Career Achievement Award in Diagnostic Virology from the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, and the 2018 University of South Australia Alumni Award for distinguished innovation and pioneering work.


Research Interests

  • Development and evaluation of molecular tests for the detection and characterization of viral infections and emerging viral pathogens
  • Genomic characterization and evolution of multiple viruses
  • Method development for the detection and surveillance of drug resistance in influenza
  • Genomic disease associations for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, vaccine evasion and emerging variants


Research Concentration

  • Infection and immunity


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