Dr. Charles Aaron Alford Jr (December 8, 1928 - August 26, 2008) was a doctor at University of Alabama at Birmingham who created one of the most influential infectious diseases divisions of any academic medical center department in the world.
Alford was a graduate of Woodlawn High School and the University of Alabama. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Alabama. He trained in pediatrics at Children's Hospital, served as a lieutenant in the navy in Sasebo, Japan; and then performed an infectious diseases fellowship with the Nobel Prize winner, Tom Weller, at Harvard.
Alford returned to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Through his work, he established the value of the first antiviral medication, vidabarabine, for the treatment of herpesvirus infections which began the current era of efficacious antiviral therapy for a variety of diseases. Alford and his colleagues also defined the natural history and the pathogenesis of congenital cytomegalovirus infection, the most common congenital infection worldwide and the most significant infectious cause of newborn hearing loss.
Alford was recognized by numerous societies and boards for his contributions to science, including the American Pediatric Society, the March of Dimes, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, among others, and he was further recognized by UAB with the naming of an endowed chair in his honor. He was a consultant to the National Institutes of Health and served as an advisor to the government, the March of Dimes and various other foundations for his entire career. Over his career, he trained 20 individuals who have gone on to academic positions across the United States and Europe.
"Dr. Charles Aaron Alford, Jr. (obituary)." (August 28, 2008) The Birmingham News