Jessica Grant


Research Associate/Lab Instructor
Department of Biological Sciences
205 C Ford Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 585-4341


  • MS Biology, Smith College
  • BS Mathematics, cum laude, University of Washington

Research Interests:

Molecular Biology
Global Health
Parasites and Vectors
Sequencing Technology
Molecular Evolution and the Tree of Life


Bio 335 Bioinformatics and Comparative Molecular Biology Lab


Grant, JR, Bushko, R., Chertock, S., Gonzalez, A., Halili, S., Hwang, S., Mathieu-Daudé, F., Morgan, R., Newhall, R., Oprea, E., Pietrow, R., Stauduhar, J., Sun, L., Wang, H., Bossin, H., Slatko, B., Williams, S.A. (in review, 2021). Draft Genome of the Polynesian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes polynesiensis.

Halili S., Grant JR, Pilotte N., Gordon C.A., Williams S.A. (2021). Development of a novel real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the sensitive detection of Schistosoma japonicum in human stool. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Oct 25;15(10):e0009877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009877. eCollection 2021 Oct.PMID: 34695134

Aiemjoy, K., Arzika, A.M., Cook, C., Lemas, E., Pilotte, N., Grant, JR, Williams, S.A., Lietman, T.M., & Keenan, J.D. Molecular detection of intestinal helminths and protozoa among young children in Dosso Region, Niger. (2020). Molecular detection of intestinal helminths and protozoa among young children in Dosso Region, Niger. Gates Open Res 2020, 4:38 (

Maasch JRMA, Arzika AM, Cook C, Lebas E, Pilotte N, Grant JR, Williams SA, Keenan JD, Lietman TM, Aiemjoy K. Rectal Swabs as an Alternative Sample Collection Method to Bulk Stool for the Real-Time PCR Detection of Giardia duodenalis.  Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jun 8. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0909. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32524959.

Zulch MF, Pilotte N, Grant JR, Minetti C, Reimer LJ, Williams SA. Selection and exploitation of prevalent, tandemly repeated genomic targets for improved real-time PCR-based detection of Wuchereria bancrofti and Plasmodium falciparum in mosquitoes.  PLoS One. 2020;15(5):e0232325. Published 2020 May 1doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0232325

Benjamin-Chung, J., Pilotte, N., Ercumen, A., Grant, JR, Maasch, J., Gonzalez, A. M., Ester, A. C., Arnold, B. F., Rahman, M., Haque, R., Hubbard, A. E., Luby, S. P., Williams, S. A., & Colford, J. M., Jr Comparison of multi-parallel qPCR and double-slide Kato-Katz for detection of soil-transmitted helminth infection among children in rural Bangladesh. (2020). PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 14(4), e0008087.

Grant JR, Pilotte N, Williams SA. A case for using genomics and a bioinformatics pipeline to develop sensitive and species-specific PCR-based diagnostics for soil-transmitted helminths. Front Genet. 2019 Sep 23;10:883. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00883. eCollection 2019

Papaiakovou M, Pilotte N, Baumer B, Grant JR, Schaer F, Hu Y, Aroian R, et al. A comparative analysis of preservation techniques for the optimal molecular detection of hookworm DNA in a human fecal specimen. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018;12(1): e0006130 doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006130

Papaiakovou M, Pilotte N, Grant JR, Traub RJ, Llewellyn S, McCarthy JS, et al. A novel, species-specific, real-time PCR assay for the detection of the emerging zoonotic parasite Ancylostoma ceylanicum in human stool. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11:e0005734 doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005734

Pilotte, N, Papaiakovou M, Grant J.R., Bierwert L, Llewellyn S, McCarthy J, Williams SA. Improved PCR-Based Detection of Soil Transmitted Helminth Infections Using a Next-Generation Sequencing Approach to Assay Design.  PLoS Negl Trop Dis. March 2016. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004578

Jensen L, Grant JR, Laughinghouse HD 4th, Katz LA. Assessing the effects of a sequestered germline on interdomain lateral gene transfer in Metazoa. Evolution. 2016 May 3. doi: 10.1111/evo.12935

Katz, L.A., Grant, J.R., 2015. Taxon-Rich Phylogenomic Analyses Resolve the Eukaryotic Tree of Life and Reveal the Power of Subsampling by Sites. SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY 64:3,406-415, doi:10.1093/sysbio/syu126

Oliverio, A. M.; Lahr, D.J.G.; Grant, J.R.; et al. 2015. Are microbes fundamentally different than macroorganisms? Convergence and a possible case for neutral phenotypic evolution in testate amoeba (Amoebozoa: Arcellinida). ROYAL SOCIETY OPEN SCIENCE, 2:12

Lahr, D. J. G.; Grant, J.R.; Molestina, R.; et al., 2015. Sapocribrum chincoteaguense n. gen. n. sp.: A Small, Scale-bearing Amoebozoan with Flabellinid Affinities. JEM 62(4) 444-453

Grant, J.R., Katz LA. Phylogenomic Study Indicates Widespread Lateral Gene Transfer in Entamoeba and Suggests a Past Intimate Relationship with Parabasalids. 2014. Genome Biol Evol6 (9): 2350-2360.

Grant J.R., Katz LA. Building a Phylogenomic Pipeline for the Eukaryotic Tree of Life – Addressing Deep Phylogenies with Genome-Scale Data. PLOS Currents Tree of Life. 2014 Apr2. Edition1.doi: 10.1371/currents.tol.c24b6054aebf36.02748ac042ccc8f2e9.

Lahr, D.J.G., Grant, J.R., Katz,L.A. 2013. Multigene phylogenetic reconstruction of the Tubulinea (Amoebozoa) corroborates four of the six major lineages, while additionally revealing that shell composition does not predict phylogeny in the Arcellinida. Protist. 164(3):323-39

Grant, J.R., Lahr D. J. G, Rey, F., Gordon, J.I., Knight, R., Molestina, R.E. & Katz, L.A. 2012. Gene discovery in the transcriptomes of three diverse microbial eukaryotes:Corallomyxa tenera, Chilodonella uncinata, and Subulatomonas tetraspora. Protist Genomics, 1, 3-18.

Lahr, D. J. G., Kubik, G. M., Gant, A.L., Grant, J.R., Anderson, O. RR., Katz, Laura A. 2011. Morphological Description of Telaepolella tubasferens n. g. n. sp., Isolate ATCC 50593, a Filose Amoeba in the Gracilipodida, Amoebozoa. Acta Protozoologica. 51(4): 305-318

Parfrey, LW, JR Grant, and LA Katz. 2012. Ribosomal DNA is differentially amplified across life-cycle stages in the foraminifer Allogromia laticollaris strain CSH. Journal of Foraminiferal Research 42:151-155.

Katz, LA, LW Parfrey, JR Grant, JG Burleigh. 2012. Turning the crown upside down: gene tree parsimony roots the eukaryotic tree of life. Syst Biol. DOI:10.1093/sysbio/sys026

Lahr, D. J. G., Grant, JR., Nguyen, T., Lin, J.H. and L. A. Katz. 2011. Comprehensive Phylogenetic Reconstruction of Amoebozoa Based on Concatenated Analyses of SSUrDNA and Actin Gene. PLOS One. 6(7).

Katz, L. A., Grant, J. R., Parfrey, L. W., Gant, A., O’Kelley, C. J., Anderson, O. R., Molestina, R. E. & Nerad, T. 2011. Subulatomonas tetraspora nov. gen. nov. sp. is a member of a previously unrecognized major clade of eukaryotes. Protist.

Parfrey, L. W., J. R. Grant, Y. I. Tekle, E. Lasek-Nesselquist, H. G. Morrison, M. L. Sogin, D. J. Patterson, and L. A. Katz. In Press. Broadly sampled multigene analyses yield a well-resolved eukaryotic tree of life. Syst. Biol.

Cole J., Andersen O.R., Tekle Y. I., J. Grant, Katz L. A., and T. Nerad.  2010.  A description of a new ‘Amoebozoa’ isolated from the American Lobster, Homarus americanus. J. Euk. Micro. 57: 40-47.

Tekle, Y. I., J. R. Grant, A. M. Kovner, J. P. Townsend, and L. A. Katz. 2010. Identification of new molecular markers for assembling the eukaryotic tree of life. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 55:1177-1182.

Grant J.R., Tekle, Y.I., O.R. Anderson, Patterson D.J., and L.A. Katz. 2009. Multigene evidence for the placement of a heterotrophic amoeboid lineage Leukarachnion sp. among photosynthetic stramenopiles. Protist. 160: 376—385.

Tekle, Y.I., J.R. Grant, L. O.R. Anderson, J.C. Cole, T. Nerad, and L.A. Katz . 2008.  Multigene phylogenetic analyses of diverse amoebae and assessment of stability of clades within ‘Amoebozoa’ based on rate corrected SSU-rDNA analysis. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol.47: 339–352

Tekle, Y.I., J.R. Grant, O.R. Anderson, J.C. Cole, T. Nerad, D.J. Patterson and L.A. Katz.  2007.  A multigene analysis of Corallomyxa tenera sp. nov. suggests its membership in a clade that include Gromia, Haplosporidia and Foraminifera.  Protist.

Yoon, H-S, J.R. Grant, Y.I. Tekle, M. Wu, B.C. Chao, J.C. Cole, J.M. Logsdon, D.J. Patterson, D. Bhattacharya, and L.A. Katz. 2007. A broadly sampled multigene tree of eukaryotes. BMC Evol. Biol.

(I am also the Williams lab webmaster)