Jaime E Blair Professor of Biology, Program Chair of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Evolutionary Genetics; Genomics; Bioinformatics



2022-present    Program Chair, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
2022-present    Professor of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College
2017-2020          Associate Chair, Dept of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College
2014-2022          Associate Professor of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College
2008-2014          Assistant Professor of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College                        
2006-2008          Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of Biology, Amherst College 
2005-2006          Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of Plant Pathology, Penn State University         


B.A. with Honors in Biology, Ithaca College
Ph.D. Biology and Astrobiology, Penn State University



My research lab studies the evolutionary genomics of eukaryotes, specifically the fungal-like oomycetes. We use a combination of field sampling, bench work, and computational analysis to answer questions concerning the evolutionary ecology, taxonomy, and phylogenetics of this important group of plant and animal pathogens. We also use molecular tools to study other groups as well, from endangered Argynnis butterflies to aquatic Naegleria amoeba.  Check out our latest research at The Blair Lab website


Grants & Awards

2021-2023: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant: Establishing a comprehensive baseline assessment of oomycete pathogen pressure on hemp

2020-2021: Franklin & Marshall College, Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster, Enhanced Sabbatical Fellowship

2015-2018: National Science Foundation CC*DNI Campus Design: Building a state-of-the-art research network at Franklin & Marshall College (Co-PI with 4 others)

2013: American Phytopathological Society Schroth Faces of the Future Symposium Award

2012: Mycological Society of America Martin-Baker Research Award

2011-2017: USDA-NIFA Oomycete CAP: Integrated management of Oomycete diseases of soybean and other crop plants (Co-PI with 27 others)

2010-2013: USDA-AFRI Microbial Functional Genomics: Education in genomics-based microbial forensics (Co-PI with 6 others).



Recent Publications (* F&M student co-author):
(see The Blair Lab website for a complete list of publications)

Rutins I*, Schannauer S*, Orellana S*, Laukhuff H*, Lang E*, Becker T, McKinney E, Thomas K, Tilden V, Swartz M, Blair JE. 2022. Genetic diversity and Wolbachia prevalence within a remnant population of Regal Fritillary, Argynnis idalia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), in south-central Pennsylvania. Journal of Insect Science 22(1): 24.

Butler E*, Crigler P*, Robbins G*, Blair JE. 2020. Preliminary survey of Aphanomyces sp. associated with native and invasive crayfish in the Lower Susquehanna watershed of south central Pennsylvania. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 35(1): 223-233.

Blair JE. 2018. Pythium wohlseniorum sp. nov., Fungal Planet 861. Persoonia 41: 400-401.

Veterano ST*, Coffua LS*, Mena-Ali JI, Blair JE. 2018. Pythium yorkensis sp. nov., a potential
soybean pathogen from southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Plant Pathology 67(3): 619-625.

Coffua LS*, Veterano ST*, Clipman SJ*, Mena-Ali JI, Blair JE. 2016. Characterization of
Pythium sp. associated with asymptomatic soybeans in southeastern Pennsylvania. Plant
Disease 100(9): 1870-1879.

Matari NH*, Blair JE. 2014. A multilocus timescale for oomycete evolution estimated under three distinct molecular clock models. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 101.

Martin FM, Blair JE, Coffey MD. 2014. A combined mitochondrial and nuclear multilocus phylogeny of the genus Phytophthora. Fungal Genetics & Biology 66: 19-32. 

Blair JE, Coffey MD, Martin FN. 2012. Species tree estimation for the late blight pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, and close relatives. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37003.


(* F&M student co-author)

AM Bauer*, JI Mena-Ali, JE Blair. [Oral Presentation] Genetic and morphological analysis of persistent Pythium hybrids from aquatic environments: potential pathogens or evolutionary dead-ends? Potomac and Northeastern Divisions of the American Phytopathological Society Joint Meeting (virtual).
TR Russell, JE Blair, JE Kaminski. Characterization of Pythium spp. causing a putative new disease of annual bluegrass golf course putting greens. Plant Health 2021, American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting (virtual).

E Butler*, P Crigler*, G Robbins*, JE Blair. Preliminary survey of Aphanomyces sp. associated with native and invasive crayfish in the Lower Susquehanna watershed of south central Pennsylvania. The Allied Genetics Conference 2020, Washington, DC. [abstract withdrawn due to COVID lockdown]

Aharonov HN*, Mena-Ali JI, Blair JE. Intraspecific variation in pathogenic behavior in
Pythium: does ploidy play a role? International Soilborne Oomycetes Conference, Duck
Key, FL.
Blair JE, Clipman SJ*, Coffua LS*, Veterano ST*, Mena-Ali JI. Mitochondrial COI
barcode pyrosequencing for estimating oomycete species diversity. Phytobiomes 2015,
Washington, DC.


Student Collaborations

Current Lab Members:
Kyra Caffrey '23, Wenrong Wu '23, Quyen Hoang '24, Zoe Shah '25


Course Information

Biology 102: Cell & Molecular Biology with Laboratory

Biology 313: Introduction to Genome Analysis

Biology 37x: Pathogen Genomics Seminar

NSP 117: Women/Science