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Biological Sciences Profiles

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Kristi Whitehead

Biological Sciences

Senior Lecturer

Jordan Hall 200 [Lab]
Jordan Hall 231 [Research Laboratory Service]
Long Hall 150 [Office]


Educational Background

Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan state University, 2009
B.S., Biology, Furman University, 2003

Research Interests

A tremendous amount of current research is focused on understanding the diversity and function of bacteria within the gastrointestinal tracts of humans. In particular, the specifics of how these bacteria impact our development and health is of interest. My research interests focus on understanding how manipulation of the gastrointestinal microbiota may play a role in the development and/or exacerbation of certain human diseases such as diabetes (both Type 1 and Type 2) and obesity. My lab also focuses on a variety of smaller projects ranging from testing and improving new antimicrobial compounds to exploring the impact of pathogens present in the environment.

Courses Taught

General Microbiology (MICR 3050)
Microbial Diversity (MICR 3070/3071)
Public Health Microbiology (MICR 4000/H4000/6000)
Advanced Microbial Ecology of Humans (MICR 4050/H4050/6050)
Microbiology Senior Seminar (MICR 4930)
Creative Inquiry and Undergraduate Research (MICR 4910/MICR 4940)

General Biology I (BIOL 1030)
Essential Skills in Microbiology (MICR 3000)
Pathogenic Bacteriology (MICR 4110/H4110/6110)
Introductory Virology (MICR 4160/H4160/6160)
Advanced Lab III (Micro 4520)

Selected Publications

Anthony D. Santilli††, Jordan T. Russell, Eric W. Triplett, Jorma Illonen, Kristi J. Whitehead,* and Daniel C. Whitehead*. 2019. Non-lethal growth inhibition by arresting the starch utilization system of clinically relevant human isolates of Bacteroides dorei. MedChemComm 10:1875-1880.

Schmitz JM, Tonkonogy SL, Dogan B, Leblond A, Whitehead KJ, Kim SC, Simpson KW, Sartor RB. 2018. Murine adherent and invasive E. coli induces inflammation and immune responses in small and large intestines of monoassociated IL-10-/- mice independent of long polar fimbriae adhesion A. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Santilli AD., Dawson EM, Whitehead KJ, and Whitehead DC. 2018. Nonmicrobicidal small molecule inhibition of polysaccharide metabolism in human gut microbes: a potential therapeutic avenue. ACS Chemical Biology. DOI:10.1021/acschembio.8b00309.

Jones, S.*, K. Whitehead*, D. Saulnier, C.M. Thomas, J. Versalovic, and R.A. Britton. 2011. Cyclopropane fatty acid synthase mutants of probiotic human-derived Lactobacillus reuteri are defective in TNF inhibition. Gut Microbes 2: 69-79. *These two authors contributed equally to this work.

Whitehead, K., J. Versalovic, S. Roos, and R. Britton. 2008. Genomic and genetic characterization of the bile stress response of probiotic Lactobacillusreuteri. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 1812-1819.


American Society for Microbiology (2003-current)