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Dr Heather Hendrickson staff profile picture

Contact details +6492136634

Dr Heather Hendrickson PhD, BSc

Senior Lecturer

School of Natural and Computational Sciences

Roles and Responsibilities:

Major Leader Integrative Biology,

Major Leader Biological Sciences,

Vice President, New Zealand Microbiological Society

Massey Phage Whānau, School of Natural and Computational Sciences

Science Communication:

See Heather's Website for more information about science communication engagement. microbialevolution.massey.ac.nz 

Dr Heather Hendrickson's lab at Massey University is investigating microbial evolution and bacteriophage biology. We have projects involving the evolution of cell shape, endosymbiosis and bacterial pathogenicity and a growing interest in the natural parasites and predators of bacteria. We also have a strong interest in bacteriophages, the viruses that infect and destroy bacteria. We use a combination of fluorescent microscopy, flow cytometry, genetics, genomics and microbiology techniques to learn about how microscopic entities affect one another over multiple time scales. 

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Contact details

  • Location: 5, Building 14
    Campus: Albany


  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Pittsburgh (2007)
  • Bachelor of Science - University of Utah (2000)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Heather is fascinated by evolution and the microbial world. Her laboratory works on the evolution of bacteria (cell shape, effect of predation and horizontal gene transfer) and the discovery and biology of bacteriophages, the viruses of bacteria. Heather's lab is also working on DNA replication termination in bacteria and how the evolutionary and molecular details of this process can be reconciled. 


21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000):
Curriculum and Pedagogy (130200): Education (130000): Education Systems (130100):
Evolutionary Biology (060300): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408):
Higher Education (130103):
Microbial Genetics (060503): Microbiology (060500): Molecular Evolution (060409):
Philosophy And Religious Studies (220000):
Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)


Genomics, Genetics, Bacteria, Evolution, Bacteriophages, Microbiology, Fluorescent Microscopy, Bacteriophage Genomics, Pathogenicity, Cell Shape Evolution, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Endosymbiosis, Molecular Evolution, Jumbophages, 

Science pedagogy, Academic freedom, Science Communication

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 2 13

Current Projects

Project Title: It's complicated: Experimentally tracking the evolution of endosymbiosis in real time

Date Range: 2019 - 2022

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: Bacteriophage discovery for AFB eradication

Date Range: 2017 - 2019

Funding Body: Agricultural & Marketing Research & Development Trust Board, The

Project Team:

Research Outputs


Davies, CG., Reilly, K., Altermann, E., & Hendrickson, HL. (2021). PLAN-M; Mycobacteriophage Endolysins Fused to Biodegradable Nanobeads Mitigate Mycobacterial Growth in Liquid and on Surfaces. Frontiers in Microbiology. 12
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Jacobs-Sera, D., Abad, LA., Alvey, RM., Anders, KR., Aull, HG., Bhalla, SS., . . . Hatfull, GF. (2020). Genomic diversity of bacteriophages infecting Microbacterium spp. PLoS ONE. 15(6)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Yulo, PRJ., & Hendrickson, HL. (2019). The evolution of spherical cell shape; progress and perspective. Biochemical Society Transactions. 47(6), 1621-1634
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Poole, AM., & Hendrickson, HL. (2019). Response: Commentary: Manifold Routes to a Nucleus. Frontiers in Microbiology. 10
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Christensen, P., Ni, Y., Bao, F., Hendrickson, H., Greenwood, M., Thomas, J., . . . Olsen, R. (2017). Houston Methodist variant viewer: An application to support clinical laboratory interpretation of next-generation sequencing data for cancer. Journal of Pathology Informatics. 8(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Liu, C., Pepper, K., Hendrickson, H., Cagle, PT., & Portier, BP. (2016). Clinical validation of a novel commercial reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction screening assay for detection of alk translocations and amplifications in non-small cell lung carcinomas. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 140(7), 690-693
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Zhang, W., McQuitty, EB., Olsen, R., Fan, H., Hendrickson, H., Tio, FO., . . . Jagirdar, J. (2014). EGFR mutations in US Hispanic versus non-Hispanic white patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 138(4), 543-545
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
McQuitty, E., Zhang, W., Hendrickson, H., Tio, FO., Jagirdar, J., Olsen, R., . . . Cagle, PT. (2014). Lung adenocarcinoma biomarker incidence in hispanic versus non-hispanic white patients. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. 138(3), 390-394
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Wojtus, JK., Frampton, RA., Warring, S., Hendrickson, H., & Fineran, PC. (2019). Genome sequence of a jumbo bacteriophage that infects the kiwifruit phytopathogen pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae. Microbiology Resource Announcements. 8(22)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Davies, CG., Wojtus, JK., Gilligan, CER., Latu, SF., Manning, TJ., Meyer, CE., . . . Hendrickson, HL. (2019). Complete genome sequences of nine mycobacteriophages from New Zealand, Beatrix, Carthage, Daegal, Dulcie, fancypants, Fenn, Inca, Naira, and Robyn. Microbiology Resource Announcements. 8(20)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H., Silander, O.
Hendrickson, H., Barbeau, D., Ceschin, R., & Lawrence, JG. (2018). Chromosome architecture constrains horizontal gene transfer in bacteria. PLoS Genetics.
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL., & Poole, AM. (2018). Manifold routes to a nucleus. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9(OCT)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Yulo, PRJ., Desprat, N., Gerth, ML., Liu, Y., Zhang, XX., Rainey, PB., . . . Hendrickson, HL. (2018). Experimental Evolution of Cell Shape in Bacteria.
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H., Zhang, X.
Bromhead, C., & Hendrickson, H. (2017). Untreatable gonorrhoea, are we there yet?. Biochemist. 39(3), 30-31
[Journal article]Authored by: Bromhead, C., Hendrickson, H.
Hanauer, DI., Graham, MJ., SEA-PHAGES, ., Betancur, L., Bobrownicki, A., Cresawn, SG., . . . Hatfull, GF. (2017). An inclusive research education community (iREC): Impact of the SEA-PHAGES program on research outcomes and student learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 114(51), 13531-13536 Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/12/04/1718188115.long
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Butela, KA., Gurney, SMR., Hendrickson, HL., LeBlanc-Straceski, JM., Zimmerman, AM., Conant, SB., . . . Kagey, JD. (2017). Complete genome sequences of cluster a mycobacteriophages BobSwaget, Fred313, KADY, Lokk, MyraDee, Stagni, and StepMih. Genome Announcements. 5(43)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H., Silander, O.Contributed to by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL., & Bromhead, C. (2017). Untreatable gonorrhoea, are we there yet?. Biochemist Society. June 2017, 30-34 Retrieved from http://www.biochemist.org/bio/03903/0030/039030030.pdf
[Journal article]Authored by: Bromhead, C., Hendrickson, H.
Wojtus, JK., Fitch, JL., Christian, E., Dalefield, T., Lawes, JK., Kumar, K., . . . Hendrickson, HL. (2017). Complete genome sequences of three novel Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 bacteriophages, noxifer, phabio, and skulduggery. Genome Announcements. 5(31)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, H., & Rainey, PB. (2012). Evolution: How the unicorn got its horn. Nature. 489(7417), 504-505
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, H. (2009). Order and disorder during Escherichia coli divergence. PLoS Genetics. 5(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, H., & Lawrence, JG. (2007). Mutational bias suggests that replication termination occurs near the dif site, not at Ter sites. Molecular Microbiology. 64(1), 42-56
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, H., & Lawrence, JG. (2006). Selection for chromosome architecture in bacteria. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 62(5), 615-629
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Lawrence, JG., & Hendrickson, H. (2005). Genome evolution in bacteria: Order beneath chaos. Current Opinion in Microbiology. 8(5), 572-578
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Lawrence, JG., & Hendrickson, H. (2003). Lateral gene transfer: When will adolescence end?. Molecular Microbiology. 50(3), 739-749
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, H., Slechta, ES., Bergthorsson, U., Andersson, DI., & Roth, JR. (2002). Amplification-mutagenesis: Evidence that "directed" adaptive mutation and general hypermutability result from growth with a selected gene amplification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 99(4), 2164-2169
[Journal article]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.


Hendrickson, H. (2012). The lion and the mouse: How bacteriophages create, liberate and decimate bacterial pathogens. In Bacteriophages in Health and Disease. (pp. 61 - 75).
[Chapter]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL.(2009). Order and disorder during E. coli divergence.
[Discussion Paper]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL., & Lawrence, JG. (2008). Genomes in motion: gene transfer as a catalyst for genome change.. In M. Hensel, & H. Schmidt (Eds.) Horizontal Gene Transfer In The Evolution Of Pathogenesis. : Cambridge Univ Pr
[Chapter]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL., & Lawrence, JG. (2004). Chromosome structure and constraints on lateral gene transfer. In V. Parisi, VD. Fonzo, & F. Aluffi-Pentini (Eds.) Dynamical genetics 2004.
[Chapter]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.
Hendrickson, HL.(2008). DNA replication can still spring surprises.
[Discussion Paper]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.


Hendrickson, HL. (2008). Chromosome Architecture and Evolution in Bacteria. (Doctoral Thesis, University of Pittsburgh)
[Doctoral Thesis]Authored by: Hendrickson, H.


Cook, G., French, N., Hawke, G., Hendrickson, H., Heinemann, J., Le Heron, R., . . . Williamson, D. (2017). Antimicrobial resistance implications for New Zealanders.
[Commissioned Report]Authored by: French, N., Hendrickson, H.Contributed to by: Hendrickson, H.

Consultancy and Languages


  • June 2017 - Present - Hendrickson Science Consulting
    Available for short term consulting projects that correspond to her research expertise.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

Major Leader Integrative Biology 

Coordinator Bacteriophage Discovery (HHMI SEA-PHAGES course) 246202

Coordinator Science and Sustainability for Sciences (247113)

 Principles of Genetics 203212

Courses Coordinated

  • 246.202 Bacteriophage Discovery and Genomics

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 4 1
Co-supervisor 2 0

Current Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • B Priyadarshini B Priyadarshini - Doctor of Philosophy
    Investigating the evolution of endosymbiosis between Dictyostelium sp and Pseudomonas sp
  • Jasper Perry - Doctor of Philosophy
    Investigating the Evolution of Endosymbiotic Relationship Formation between Naegleria and Pseudomonas
  • Danielle Kok - Doctor of Philosophy
    ABAtE: Active Bacteriophages for AFB Eradication
  • Farhad Sadeghpour Golzar - Doctor of Philosophy
    Experimental Evolution Under Predation in Pseudomonas Fluorescens SBW25

Co-supervisor of:

  • Nur Sharim - Doctor of Philosophy
    Fermentation Technology for Fish Sauce from New Zealand Raw Materials
  • Cathleen Broersma - Doctor of Philosophy
    Cooperation and conflict in Dictyostelium discoideum.

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Paul Richard Yulo - Doctor of Philosophy
    Evolution of the Spherical Cell Shape in Bacteria

Media and Links


  • 01 May 2013 - Magazine, Newspaper, Online
    36 Written Articles, Comments and Interviews since
    Science Media Centre NZ, Future NZ Magazine, New Zealand Herald, The Node, North & South Magazine, Curious Minds, GirlBossNZ, SciBlogs, In Situ Science, AMA Reddit, BBC Future Magazine, InfectedNZ,
  • 01 Dec 2013 - Television
    33 Broadcast TV appearances since 2013
    First Line, The Paul Henry Show, TV3,
  • 01 Dec 2013 - Radio
    Radio Interviews: 28 since 2013
    Radio New Zealand, Radio Live & 95 BFM

Other Links