Alumni & Parent Programs

Kevin Ault '84

AlumniKAultKevin Ault entered medical school just as the medical community was beginning to recognize that it had seriously neglected women's healthcare. Even so, when he decided to focus on women's health and gynecology, he never imagined he would one day become involved with a vaccine that could potentially save the lives of thousands of women.

Ault's career has led him to positions at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where today he holds a position of associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology. In 1995, Ault became involved with a study for which he is probably best known among his peers - an experimental vaccine that was designed to protect against the virus that causes cervical cancer.

It was during a meeting with other researchers interested in infectious diseases that Ault began talking with two scientists from Merck Research Laboratories about the experimental vaccine that protects against a form of Human Papillomavirus type 16, or HPV-16, a virus responsible for about half of the cases of cervical cancer. Ault became involved on the ground level of planning the student, and was an author and principle investigator for the University of Iowa site. When the initial results of the study were positive, Ault was interviewed on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" and on MSNBC, as well as quoted in the Boston Globe, Washington Post and London Times. Ault is currently involved with the next phase of the study, involving quadrivalent vaccine, which, if successful, will protect against more than one type of HPV.