Jamie Henzy

Jamie grew up in eastern Kentucky. After earning a B.A. in linguistics at the University of KY, she made her way to Boston out of a love of clam chowder, old buildings, and the kids’ show, Zoom. While working as an underling at Harvard, she took advantage of their tuition assistance benefit to obtain her master’s degree, writing a thesis that blended her love of Russian, biology, and science history. She then developed an interest in endogenous retroviruses while working with retroviral vectors in a gene therapy lab, leading her to pursue a Ph.D. in the lab of John Coffin at Tufts University, where she focused on the evolution of retroviral envelope proteins.

In the Johnson lab, she is exploring the evolutionary dynamics between viruses, with their rapid mutation rates and small genomes, and their sluggishly mutating, large-genomed hosts.

In addition to doing research, she also teaches courses in the department, and writes for the website, Small Things Considered, sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.

When not on campus, she might be running, reading, enjoying ice cream, or picking at a banjo.


1: Henzy JE, Johnson WE. Phylogenetic sleuthing reveals pair of paralogous genes.
Elife. 2016 May 31;5. pii: e17224. doi: 10.7554/eLife.17224. PubMed PMID:
27244557; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4887199.

2: Henzy JE, Gifford RJ, Johnson WE, Coffin JM. A novel recombinant retrovirus in
the genomes of modern birds combines features of avian and mammalian
retroviruses. J Virol. 2014 Mar;88(5):2398-405. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02863-13. Epub
2013 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 24352464; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3958055.

3: Henzy JE, Johnson WE. Pushing the endogenous envelope. Philos Trans R Soc Lond
B Biol Sci. 2013 Aug 12;368(1626):20120506. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0506. Print
2013 Sep 19. Review. PubMed PMID: 23938755; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3758190.

4: Henzy JE, Coffin JM. Betaretroviral envelope subunits are noncovalently
associated and restricted to the mammalian class. J Virol. 2013
Feb;87(4):1937-46. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01442-12. Epub 2012 Dec 5. PubMed PMID:
23221553; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3571459.

BIOL3150              Introduction to Genomics
BIOL6160              Graduate Bioinformatics
BIOL8070              Viruses and Evolutionary Theory


Posts about viruses for the website, Small Things Considered:
Five Questions about Filoviruses
MicroRNAs and Retroviral Integrity
Neanderthal Me
Need Protection? Hire a Virus!
Need Protection? Hire a Virus! – Part Deux
Polintons: A Viral Missing Link?
Retroviruses, the Placenta, and the Genomic Junk Drawer

For fun:
Measuring Up
Agar Art Contest an All-Around Winner

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