Ashley Alexander - Headshot
President’s Perspective


Alexander is the first female and youngest CEO in the foundation’s 64-year history and will pave the way for cutting-edge medical research


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Alexander is the first female and youngest CEO in the foundation’s 64-year history and will pave the way for cutting-edge medical research

HOUSTON (Jan. 12, 2021) – The Houston-based Kelsey Research Foundation (KRF) recently promoted Ashley Alexander to president and chief executive officer, marking the first female and youngest CEO in the foundation’s history. She succeeds Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., M.A.C.P., the foundation’s chief scientific officer, who previously served as President and  CEO and has served on the KRF Board for more than 20 years. Dr. DuPont will remain the chief scientific officer and a Board member and where he will continue to lead groundbreaking research focusing on the human microbiome.

“Ashley has played an integral role in the growth and expansion of the Kelsey Research Foundation and her vision has put the foundation at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific research,” said John W. Kelsey, Kelsey Research Foundation Board Chairman. “She has proven to be one of the most effective, efficient and influential leaders in the Houston medical field and her dedication to improving unique outcomes through microbiome research will leave a major impact on the health of our community.”

Ashley joined KRF in 2016 as the executive director and was promoted to vice president and COO before being named president and CEO. Her key accomplishment at KRF has been establishing and expanding the Kelsey Research Foundation-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research into a nationally recognized center for research. Working closely with Dr. DuPont while they were both at CHI St. Luke’s Heath, they brought together the fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) initiative at CHI St. Luke’s Health and applied it to other diseases related to the gut microbiota. Ashley raised more than $1 million for this initiative and has helped develop a clear vision of how this research can significantly impact the health of our community. As a result, the KRF-UTHealth Center is the first in the nation to conduct a clinical trial examining if improving the microbiome of Parkinson’s Disease patients through a unique FMT product can improve the gut microbiome.

“I am grateful and humbled for the support of the KRF Board of Directors for this opportunity to lead and broaden KRF’s vision for the future,” said Ashley Alexander, president and CEO, KRF. “It gives me such enthusiasm to know that our organization is discovering how the trillions of microbes within us – and how we can improve those microbes if someone is missing key ones – impact all aspects of human health. This role will allow me to raise awareness for this important research and pave the way for various clinical trials and support programs that improve public health.”

Ashley’s vision for KRF includes launching a national, multi-site clinical trial of the KRF-UTHealth Center for Microbiome Research FMT microbiome product. This large-scale, national study would focus on a chronic condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, and provide the required safety and efficacy data to move product development forward. Because the number of medical conditions and diseases with a microbiome association is endless, her goal for KRF and its joint research program with UTHealth is to expand researching beyond the gut such as saliva and become an established leader in the neurological, gastrointestinal, and metabolic microbiome-associated field. Additionally, she plans to conduct research into a synthetic or non-human derived microbiome product in a large-scale clinical study. This type of product will allow the microbiome field to expand even more rapidly.

Prior to KRF, Ashley served as the director, medicine and critical care services lines at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, CHI St. Luke’s Health where she implemented the intensivist-led, closed critical care model and spearheaded the creation of the Critical Care Service. She also worked closely with other Kelsey-Seybold Clinic specialists, CHI leadership, physicians and nursing staff to leave improvements in the quality of care provided to patients. She began her career at the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) in Bethesda, Maryland as an executive assistant and as a science writer where she learned and wrote about the rules and regulations surrounding blood banks, cellular therapies, and cord blood banking before relocating to Houston, Texas.

Ashley has co-authored several publications and presented posters throughout her career that have focused on fecal microbiota transplants. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University and a Master of Health Services Administration from University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives –  Southeast Chapter, the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Society of Clinical Research Associates.

She is active within the Houston community and is a member of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church where she attends with her husband and two young children. She supports local organizations and holds memberships at the Houston Zoo, local museums and the Houston Arboretum. Her philanthropic and community services efforts currently are focused on areas that impact or relate to her family, including literacy initiatives for children and adults. These organizations and involvement create an opportunity to build the community service mentality for her children from an early age in a way similar to how my parents positively influenced her.

For more information about the Kelsey Research Foundation, please visit


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About Kelsey Research Foundation

Kelsey Research Foundation (KRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established in 1956 by the founders of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, to promote biomedical research and health education in Houston. Today, KRF’s mission is to advance medical research and provide health education opportunities for all Houstonians. In addition, KRF organizes and facilitates collaborative research between Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and institutions of the Texas Medical Center.

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