Faculty Name

Maira Goytia, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor




Science Teaching Fellow of the American Society for Microbiology
Ph.D., Institut Pasteur & Universite Paris VI
M. S., B.S., Universite Paris VII


Goytia started teaching at Spelman College in January 2016, in the biology department. Prior to working at Spelman, she taught in the biology department and conducted research in microbiology at Emory University in Atlanta. At Spelman, she thoroughly enjoys teaching with the support of the cohesive team of faculty.

In class and outside, students engage in the scientific process through hands-on labs and case studies. Goytia thrives at empowering students to become researchers and enquirers and wants students to seize the pleasure and passion of doing science, of becoming scientists. She applies active learning and uses student-centered pedagogical techniques to commit the students in the learning, research and discovery process.

Goytia's research studies focus on human infectious diseases. She researched molecular mechanisms of resistance by the sexually transmitted bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and published scientific research on biofilm formation and the impact of host-derived factors on bacterial resistance.

Goytia worked on the human parasite Trypanosoma cruzi while working on her Ph.D. at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. The parasite secretes an enzyme that plays a mitogenic role, triggering an anarchic immunological response in the host and allowing the parasite to evade the immune system.

The study required immunological, biochemical, molecular and cellular biology techniques. Goytia's work lead to several scientific publications. During her undergraduate period, she worked on HIV diagnostics in Barcelona, Spain, and in a microbiology lab at a non-profit clinic in Paris. Each of these experiences in undergraduate and graduate school were paramount in triggering her scientific career. Goytia promotes acquiring scientific training as early as possible at the undergraduate level.

Courses Taught

Fall 2017
Animal Behavior (BIO365)
Microbiology (BIO233)
Biology Seminar / Sophomore (BIO285)

Spring 2017

Molecular Biology and Genomics (BIO125)
Biology Seminar / Sophomore (BIO285)

Fall 2018

Microbiology (BIO233)
Independent Research (BIO487)

Spring 2018
Molecular Biology and Genomics (BIO125)
Independent Research (BIO487)

Research Interests

Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Parasitology, and Infectious Diseases


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