Heather Allison is Senior Lecturer in Microbiology in the Department of Functional and Comparative Genomics within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences in the Institute of Integrative Biology at Liverpool University. Dr. Allison received her Ph.D. from the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in 1997. She held a NIH-funded Postdoctoral Cariology Fellowship at the University of Rochester before moving to the University of Liverpool. Her research interest is in studying the molecular mechanisms that control various aspects of microbial interactions with their environment. She is currently running a variety of projects that are ultimately focused on using molecular biology to better understand microbial behaviour and niches, with a particular focus on two main research areas. The first is understanding how lambdoid bacteriophages, specifically Shiga toxin encoding bacteriophages, interact with their bacterial host cells, e.g. host adsorption targets, virally encoded integrases, and viral genes that alter the host phenotype without being involved in the viral replication process. She has also developed and utilised a number of molecular tools to examine the distribution of these bacteriophages in the natural environment. The second line of research focuses on the use of metagenomic techniques (pyrosequencing and fosmid libraries) to identify and characterise novel cellulolytic microbial taxa and the cellulases they produce from landfill and fresh water environments.