We study human genomic factors that control and interact with the microbiome. We utilize high-throughput genomics technologies and employ computational, statistical, network-theory, data mining, and population genetic analytical approaches, with the goal of understanding how we interact with our microbial communities, how host-microbe interactions affect human disease, and how the symbiosis between us and our microbiome evolved.
Selected Recent Papers
A. Gomez, K. Petrzelkova, M. B. Burns, C. J. Yeoman, K. R. Amato, K. Vlckova, D. Modry, A. Todd, C. A. Jost Robinson, M. Remis, M. Torralba, E. Morton, J. D. Umana, F. Carbonero, H. R. Gaskins, K. E. Nelson, B. A. Wilson, R. M. Stumpf, B. A. White, S. R. Leigh, and R. Blekhman.
Cell Reports, 2016
R. Blekhman, J. K. Goodrich, K. Huang, Q. Sun, R. Bukowski, J. T. Bell, T. D. Spector, A. Keinan, R. E. Ley, D. Gevers, and A. G. Clark.
Genome Biology, 2015
E. R. Morton, J. Lynch, A. Froment, S. Lafosse , E. Heyer , M. Przeworski, R. Blekhman, and L. Segurel.
PLOS Genetics, 2015
M. B. Burns, J. Lynch, T. K. Starr, D. Knights, and R. Blekhman.
Genome Medicine, 2015
J. Tung, L. B. Barreiro, M. B. Burns, J.-C. Grenier, J. Lynch, L. E. Grieneisen, J. Altmann, S. C. Alberts, R. Blekhman, and E. A. Archie.
J. K. Goodrich, J. L. Waters, A. C. Poole, J. L. Sutter, O. Koren, R. Blekhman, M. Beaumont, W. Van Treuren, R. Knight, J. T. Bell, T. Spector, A. G. Clark, and R. E. Ley.
R. Blekhman, G. H. Perry, S. Shahbaz, A. G. Clark, O. Fiehn, and Y. Gilad.
Scientific Reports, 2014
Our Work in the Media
- Is Gut Science Biased? By Anna Maria Barry-Jester, FiveThirtyEight, May 2016
- Microbes Meet Cancer. Understanding cancer’s relationship with the human microbiome could transform immune-modulating therapies. By Kate Yandell, The Scientist, April 2016
Shifts in the gut microbiome between traditional and modern human populations.
Media coverage of our February 2016 paper:
- Giving Up Hunting and Gathering Changed Our Gut Microbiome. Newsweek
- The Microbiomes of Indigenous Peoples Are Different--Does It Matter?, by Kevin Bonham, Scientific American
- Study Detects Gut Microbiome Differences in African Agriculturist, Hunter-Gatherer Populations. GenomeWeb
- Human Gut Microbiome Evolution: From Hunter-Gatherers to a Western Lifestyle. Discover
Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition.
Our September 2015 paper was covered by several media outlets, including:
- Genetics, Immunity, and the Microbiome, by Karen Zusi, The Scientist
- Who is the master of your microbial domain? by Jason Tetro, Popular Science
- Host genetic architecture and the landscape of microbiome composition: humans weigh in. By Andrew Benson, Genome Biology Research Highlight
The microbiome of colorectal tumors.
Our June 2015 paper was covered by several media outlets, including:
- New colon cancer culprit found in gut microbiome. Science Daily
- Microbiome Study of Colorectal Cancer Uncovers Signature of Virulence Genes. Genome Web
- U research furthers options for colorectal treatment and prevention. Minnesota Daily
- Linking the microbiome and colorectal cancer: an author Q+A. BioMed Central, On Medicine
Surprises Emerge As More Hunter-Gatherer Microbiomes Come In.
Coverage of Elise's recent paper on the rural African microbiome, by Ed Yong, National Geographic, March 2015
Human Genetics Shape the Gut Microbiome.
Our October 2014 paper with Ruth Ley, Andy Clark, Tim Spector and others was covered by several media outlets, including:
- Genetics may foster bugs that keep you thin. Science magazine
- The Most Heritable Gut Bacterium is… Wait, What is That? National Geographic / Not Exactly Rocket Science
- Gut Microbiome Heritability. The Scientist
- Body weight heavily influenced by gut microbes: Genes shape body weight by affecting gut microbes. Science Daily
The Message in Microbiomes.
University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences News, November 2013
People’s Genes Welcome Their Microbes.
Science News, November 2013
It’s in the Genes.
The Scientist, October 2013
Gene Variants in Immune System Pathways Correlated With Composition of Microbes of Human Body.
Science Daily, October 2013
Genes May Influence Body's Bacteria.
Science News, May 2012
Biology of Genomes Presentation Describes Hunt for Microbiome-Related Host Genes.
GenomeWeb, May 2012
Why Humans are More Sensitive to Certain Viruses: Primate Immune System Differences Identified.
Science Daily, December 2010
What Makes a Man a Man?
Science Life, January 2010
Genetics: Sex and the Cortex
Nature (Research Highlights), July 2008
- Congrats to Michael for his new position as Assistant Professor at Loyola University starting this summer! 05/2016
- Ran will speak at the 2016 Biology of Genomes Meeting 05/2016
- Ran is selected as a 2016 Sloan Research Fellow (PDF of New York Times ad) 02/2016
- We have been awarded a grant from the Randy Shaver Cancer Research Fund to support our research on host-microbiome interaction in colon cancer 01/2016
- Ran will speak at the ASHG Annual Meeting on October 9, 2015 10/2015
- Michael wins the Best Poster award at the UMN 24th Annual Developmental Biology Symposium on Symbiosis and Development. Congrats Michael! 09/2015
- Josh has successfully defended his M.S. thesis. Congrats Josh! 08/2015
- Michael has been awarded a UMN CTSI Translational Research Development Program Grant. Congrats Michael! 05/2015
- Ran will speak at the Charles Schachtele Memorial Symposium in Oral Biology on May 19, 2015 05/2015
- Elise will speak at the UMN Microbiome Symposium on April 17, 2015 04/2015
- Ran will speak at the Gordon Research Conference for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics on February 27, 2015 02/2015
- Josh has been awarded a BICB fellowship for 2015. Congrats Josh! 11/2014
- Tim receives a UROP award for his undergraduate research project. Congrats Tim! 11/2014
- Josh wins second-best poster in the BICB symposium. Congrats Josh! 08/2014
- Andres Gomez joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate. Welcome Andres! 06/2014
- Ran will give a talk at the 2014 ASM meeting on May 20 at 3:00 PM, as part of the symposium on Host Genetic Control of the Microbiome, in room 160A at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center 05/2014
- Michael will present his research at the Biology of Genomes Meeting at Cold Spring Harbor in the poster session on Wednesday May 7, 2014 05/2014
- Ran will give a talk at the AAPA Meeting on April 12, 2014 at 11:15 AM, as part of the Beyond The Genome Symposium, at the Hyatt Imperial Ballroom, TELUS Convention Center, Calgary, Canada 04/2014
- Elise Morton joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate. Welcome Elise! 02/2014
- Josh Lynch joins the lab as a BICB graduate student. Welcome Josh! 01/2014
- Karen Tang joins the lab as a data analyst. Welcome Karen! 01/2014
- Ran will give a talk at the ASHG Meeting on October 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM, at the Grand Ballroom East, Level 3 of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center 10/2013
- Ran will give a talk at the NTD Conference in Austin on October 9, 2013 09/2013
- Ran will give a talk at the GCD Seminar Series on September 19, 2013 09/2013
- Michael Burns joins the lab as an HHMI Postdoctoral Associate. Welcome Michael! 08/2013
- Ran will give a talk at the MPGI Fall Symposium at the University of Minnesota on August 29, 2013 08/2013
- The Blekhman Lab opened its gates on August 1st, 2013 in the Cargill Building on the St. Paul campus! 08/2013
- Ran will give a talk at the SMBE Meeting in Chicago on July 10, 2013 06/2013
- Ran will give a talk at the Biology of Genomes meeting at Cold Spring Harbor on May 8, 2013 05/2013