A headshot of Kayla Rayford.

Kayla J. Rayford, Ph.D.

Technical Specialist
Washington, DC

Kayla Rayford is a skillful biomedical scientist who focused her doctorate studies on microbiology and immunology. While attending Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Kayla worked as a graduate research assistant investigating molecular mechanisms of host cell response contributing to pathogenesis and infection during early Trypanosoma cruzi infection using primary cell lines. During her graduate school career, Kayla coordinated laboratory projects, mentored other students, presented at national and local conferences, co-authored peer-reviewed articles, and instructed multiple courses.

Kayla worked on several other research projects while pursuing her undergraduate degree. She became an Alaska/Oregon Research Training Alliance Fellow at the University of Oregon, a SOAR Fellow at Georgetown University, and a STAR-PREP Research Fellow at the University of Maryland.

In addition, Kayla has extensive experience with molecular biology techniques to investigate infectious diseases and cancer pathogenesis.

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

American Society for Microbiology

American Heart Association

American Society for Matrix Biology

Recognition & Accomplishments

Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Meharry Medical College, 2023

American Society for Matrix Biology Fibroblast Workshop Travel Award, 2022

American Heart Association BCVS Cardiovascular Outreach Award, 2022

The Microbiology Immunology Academic Award, Meharry Medical College, 2021-2022


Co-author, “Trypanosoma cruzi dysregulates expression profile of piRNA in primary human cardiac fibroblasts during early infection phase,” Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 2023

Co-author, “Trypanosoma cruzi Dysregulates piRNAs Computationally Predicted to Target IL-6 Signaling Molecules During Early Infection of Primary Human Cardiac Fibroblasts,” Immune Network, 2022

Co-author, “Thrombospondin-1 expression and modulation of Wnt and hippo signaling pathways during the early phase of Trypanosoma cruzi infection of heart endothelial cells,” PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2022



Meharry Medical College (Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, 2023)

Bowie State University (B.S., magna cum laude, 2017)