2017-2020 Associate Chair, Dept of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College
2014-present Associate Professor, Dept of Biology, Franklin & Marshall College
2008-2014 Assistant Professor , Dept 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 right here in PA to Daphnia zooplankton from the Canadian Rockies. 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):
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.
Hyde KD, Nilsson RH, Alias SA, Ariyawansa HA, Blair JE et al. 2014. One stop shop: backbone trees for important phytopathogenic genera: I (2014). Fungal Diversity 67(1): 21-125.
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.
Heyman F, Blair JE, Persson L, Wikstrom M. 2013. Root rot of pea and faba bean in southern Sweden caused by Phytophthora pisi, sp. nov. Plant Disease 97(4): 462-471.
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
Blair JE, Clipman SJ*, Coffua LS*, Veterano ST*, Mena-Ali JI. Mitochondrial COI
barcode pyrosequencing for estimating oomycete species diversity. Phytobiomes 2015,
Current Lab Members:
Kyra Caffrey '23, Wenrong Wu '23, Quyen Hoang '24, Zoe Shah '25
Biology 305: Genetics with Laboratory
Biology 313: Introduction to Genome Analysis
Biology 37x: Pathogen Genomics Seminar
NSP 117: Women/Science
CNX 168: Believing Science in the Information Age