Nancy Freitag is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program, and has received several awards for graduate and medical teaching. Her research focuses on the environmental bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and its capacity to survive in soil while still retaining the complex ability to replicate within the cytosol of mammalian cells. Environmental microbes are numerous and yet relatively few have the capacity to cause human disease, thus understanding how these organisms transition into life within mammalian cells could better define strategies exploited by emerging pathogens. Additional studies within the Freitag lab are focused on determining how common anesthetic agents increase host susceptibility to microbial disease with the ultimate goal of limiting hospital acquired infections.