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Katy Heath

Posted by | February 28, 2021


Katy Heath

Job Title:

Assistant Professor


Phone Number:



Google Scholar Profile


I am studying legume-rhizobium mutualism as a model for mutualism evolution and its response to anthropogenic global change. In our work, we want to discover the symbiosis loci in both host and rhizobium that underlie natural genetic variation in mutualism benefits, understand how those loci coevolve with leguminous host plants, and better predict how these interactions respond ecologically and evolutionarily to changing environments (particularly N fertilization). We have worked mostly with Medicago truncatula/Sinorhizobium, Trifolium species/Rhizobium, and Chamaecrista fasciculata to date.

Research Areas:

  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Genetics

Current N-related Projects:

  • Evolutionary response of rhizobium partner quality to N fertilization


Grillo MA, de Mita S, Burke PV, Solorzano-Lowell KLS, Heath KD. 2016. Intra-population genomics in a model mutualist: population structure and candidate symbiosis genes under selection in Medicago truncatula. Evolution 70: 2704-2717.

Grillo MA, Stinchcombe JR, Heath KD. 2016. Nitrogen addition does not influence pre-infection partner choice in the legume-rhizobium symbiosis. American Journal of Botany 103: 1763-1770.

Klinger CR, Lau JA, Heath KD. 2016. Ecological genomics of mutualism decline in nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 283:20152563.

Gordon BR, Klinger CK, Burke PV, Dentinger BTM, Weese DJ, Lau JA, and Heath KD. 2016. Decoupled genomic elements and the evolution of partner quality in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii. Ecology and Evolution 6:1317-1327.

Weese JD, Heath KD, Dentinger BTM, Lau JA. 2015. Long-term nitrogen addition causes the evolution of less-cooperative mutualists. Evolution 69: 631-642.
Heath KD, Burke PV, Stinchcombe JR. 2012. Coevolutionary genetic variation in the legume-rhizobium transcriptome. Molecular Ecology 21: 4735-4747.

Heath KD, Stock AJ, and JR Stinchcombe. 2010. Mutualism variation in the nodulation response to nitrate. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 2494-2500.