FDSN Seminar Series: Genetic Analysis of Traits in Food Crops that Affect the Human Gut Microbiome: A New Approach to Drive Crop Breeding Programs Toward Human Health
The Department of Food Science and Nutrition will host Andrew Benson, W. W. Marshall Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology and Allen Food for Health Presidential Chair at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for a seminar titled “Genetic Analysis of Traits in Food Crops that Affect the Human Gut Microbiome: A New Approach to Drive Crop Breeding Programs Toward Human Health” on Thursday, April 13, beginning at 12:45 p.m. The virtual seminar will take place on Zoom.
Food crops have historically been bred for traits that affect production, yield, and more recently, sustainability in agricultural systems. There has been little emphasis on human health, and as a result, there is little understanding of how traits that promote yield or enhance sustainability may influence the nutritional characteristics of the crops. This talk will describe a new approach that uses the human gut microbiome as a target for crop-breeding programs and emphasizes how the human gut microbiome can be used in high-throughput phenotyping that enables genetic analysis of traits in the food crops that have dramatic effects on the human gut microbiome.
Andrew Benson received his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1992, and he was an National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at Princeton University from 1992 to 1996. He began his career at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as an assistant professor in 1996, and is currently a professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology. In 2010 he was named the W. W. Marshall Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology at Nebraska and was awarded the Allen Food for Health Presidential Chair in 2017. He was also elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2019. Benson’s research program has emphasized applications of population genomics and quantitative genomics, and from 1996 to 2009, his research focused on genome evolution in enteric pathogens. In 2009 his program transitioned to microbiome research, where he studied host genetic control of the gut microbiome. In 2016 he helped establish the Nebraska Food for Health Center and was named the center’s director in 2017. With a mission of linking agricultural and biomedicine through gut microbiome research, Benson leads the center’s 30 faculty members whose expertise collectively creates a discovery-to-translation research platform that joins crop breeding and genetics to human gut microbiome and health outcomes. His own research program currently focuses on quantitative genomic analysis of traits in food crops (grains, pulses, and legumes) that have significant effects on the human gut microbiome.Join Zoom