Dr. Hardy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. His interest in neurodevelopment began while studying an animal model of prenatal infection by the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. This organism causes a serious foodborne illness in pregnant women. The mouse model of prenatal listeriosis has been employed for decades to unravel the molecular details of this infection, and Dr. Hardy uses the techniques of live animal imaging to reveal fetal responses during the course of the disease. Previously, very little attention was paid to the neurological consequences in the offspring of humans or animals exposed to prenatal listeriosis. Veterinary students and others in the Hardy laboratory first noticed neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects of prenatal listeriosis in mouse pups. These observations have led to investigations of brain structure and behavioral alterations in this mouse model of prenatal infection and its neurological consequences. It is hoped that the many tools available to this model will help to unravel the mechanisms underlying the predisposition of humans for neurological alterations due to prenatal infection.