At the Interface of Human Genomics and Microbiome Research

Based at The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, we are part of the Departments of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

Our Research

We study human genomic factors that control and interact with the microbiome. We utilize high-throughput genomics technologies and employ computational, statistical, machine learning, 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.

  Key Recent Publications

Gut microbiome heritability is nearly universal but environmentally contingent
Grieneisen et al., Science, 2021
Shared and disease-specific host gene-microbiome interactions across human diseases
Priya et al., BioRxiv, 2021
Interspecies variation in hominid gut microbiota controls host gene regulation
Muehlbauer et al., BioRxiv, 2020
Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints
Abdill & Blekhman, eLife, 2019
Gut microbiota diversity across ethnicities in the United States
Brooks et al., PLOS Biology, 2018
Colorectal cancer mutational profiles correlate with defined microbial communities in the tumor microenvironment
Burns et al., PLOS Genetics, 2018
Functional genomics of host–microbiome interactions in humans
Luca et al., Trends in Genetics, 2017
Genetic ancestry and natural selection drive population differences in immune responses to pathogens
Nédélec et al. Cell, 2016
Gut microbiome of coexisting BaAka pygmies and Bantu reflects gradients of traditional subsistence patterns
Gomez et al., Cell Reports, 2016
Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition across human body sites
Blekhman et al., Genome Biology, 2015

  Lab News

  • Congrats to Sabrina Arif for being selected to the Genetics and Genomics Predoctoral Training Grant ! 07/2021
  • Congratulations to Mattea Allert on receiving the President’s Student Leadership and Service Award! 05/2021
  • Congrats to Dr. Kelsey Johnson on her NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship! 04/2021
  • Welcome to new lab members Sabrina Arif and Samantha Graham! 04/2021
  • Congrats to Dr. Beth Adamowicz for being awarded a Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Research Foundation Grant! 02/2021
  • We have been awarded a Masonic Cross-Departmental Grant in Children’s Health to study host-microbiome interactions in human milk 01/2021
  • Congrats to Dr. Beth Adamowicz for winning the UMN CBS Postdoc Award for Outreach and Communication! 09/2020
  • Congrats to Dr. Kelsey Johnson for being selected as a MinnCResT NIH T32 Fellow! 06/2020
  • Welcome to Kelsey Johnson, new postdoctoral associate in the lab! 01/2020

A website to sort through bioRxiv preprints and find relevant, trending papers website
Data & code (GitHub)
API documentation
Our paper on preprint trends using Rxivist data (eLife 2019)
Our paper describing the website (PLOS Biology 2019)

A framework for identifying host genetic variants associated with microbiome composition.

Software, code, and instructions (GitHub)
Online network visualization tool
Paper (GigaScience)

  Our Work in the Media

  • Is Staying Home Harming Your Child’s Immune System?
    New York Times, 2020
  • The Extinction Happening Inside You
    MinuteEarth on YouTube, 2020
  • Coronavirus Research Is Moving at Top Speed — With a Catch
    Wired, 2020
  • What bioRxiv’s first 30,000 preprints reveal about biologists
    Nature, 2019
  • The Emerging Field of Microbiome Science
    HBO VICE, 2017
  • The Secret About Human Evolution Found in Spit
    The Guardian, 2017
  • Microbes Meet Cancer
    The Scientist, 2016
  • Everything You Need to Know About Poop

    New York Magazine, 2016

  • Is Gut Science Biased?
    FiveThirtyEight, 2016
  • Giving Up Hunting & Gathering Changed Our Microbiome
    Newsweek, 2016
  • Genetics, Immunity, and the Microbiome

    The Scientist, 2015

  • Who Is The Master Of Your Microbial Domain?

    Popular Science, 2015