Heidi Goodrich-Blair

Goodrich Blair Heidi 250

Heidi Goodrich-Blair is now the David and Sandra White Professor and Head of Microbiology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, after 19 years as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Goodrich-Blair’s research is to understand the molecular basis of bacterial symbiosis, both mutualistic and pathogenic, with animal hosts. She aims to understand general principles of how bacteria sense adapt to host environments, what molecules determine specificity for particular hosts and tissues, and the mechanisms by which mutualistic relationships are maintained over evolutionary time. To investigate these questions she studies a bacterium that has a beneficial partnership with nematodes and a pathogenic influence on insects. Her work has led to the first demonstration of genes necessary and sufficient to confer host-range expansion in an animal-bacterium association and has laid the groundwork for new theories on how bacterial performance as a symbiont is tied to its trans