Dr. Andrew Benson

Dr. Andrew Benson

W.W. Marshall Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology
Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology


B.S. Microbiology, Iowa State University
Ph.D. Microbiology, University of Texas
Post Doc. Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Teaching and/or Extension Activities:
Food Microbiology, Advanced Food Microbiology, (908B Molecular Biology of FoodBorne Pathogens and 908B the Microarray Course)

Research Area:
1. Genome evolution in pathogenic bacteria. Comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and molecular biology are used to identify important events in the genome of pathogenic bacteria and understand the effects of genes and pathways marked by these events.

2. Evolution and development of gut microflora. 16S rRNA fingerprinting and sequencing is being used to examine development of the highly complex gut microflora in mammalian model systems, with the ultimate goal of identifying host genes that affect gut flora development.


Representative Publications

Benson AK, Kelly SA, Legge R, Ma F, Low SJ, Kim J, Zhang M, Oh PL, Nehrenberg
D, Hua K, Kachman SD, Moriyama EN, Walter J, Peterson DA, Pomp D. Individuality in gut microbiota composition is a complex polygenic trait shaped by multiple environmental and host genetic factors. 2010. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107(44):18933-8. Epub 2010 Oct 11. PubMed PMID: 20937875 [Comment in Jermy A. Host genes shape the gut microbiota. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2010. 8(12):838. PubMed PMID: 21125700.

McKnite AM, Perez-Munoz ME, Lu L, Williams EG, Brewer S, Andreux PA, Bastiaansen JW, Wang X, Kachman SD, Auwerx J, Williams RW, Benson AK, Peterson DA, Ciobanu DC. 2012. Murine gut microbiota is defined by host genetics and modulates variation of metabolic traits. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39191. Epub 2012 Jun 18. PMID:22723961

Frese SA, Benson AK, Tannock GW, Loach DM, Kim J, Zhang M, Oh PL, Heng NC,
Patil PB, Juge N, Mackenzie DA, Pearson BM, Lapidus A, Dalin E, Tice H, Goltsman E, Land M, Hauser L, Ivanova N, Kyrpides NC, Walter J. 2011. The evolution of host specialization in the vertebrate gut symbiont Lactobacillus reuteri. PLoS Genet. (2):e1001314. Epub 2011 Feb 17. PubMed PMID: 21379339

Oh, P.L., A.K. Benson, D.A. Peterson, P.B. Patil, E.N.Moriyama, S.N. Roos, and J. Walter. 2009. Diversification of the gut symbiont Lactobacillus reuteri as a result of host-driven evolution. ISME J. 4: 377-87.

Yang, Z., J. Kim, C. Zhang, M. Zhang, J. Nietfeldt, C.M. Southward, M.G. Surette, S.D. Kachman, and A.K. Benson. 2009. Genomic instability in regions adjacent to the pch prophage diversifies expression patterns of the LEE pathogenicity island in E. coli O157:H7. J. Bacteriol. 191(11): 3553-3568.