Benjamin D Ross, PhD
Assistant Professor of Micro Immunology
Personalized Therapies for Cystic Fibrosis Cluster
Microbiology and Immunology
Postdoc - Microbiology, University of Washington
PhD - Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Washington
BA - Biochemistry, Lewis & Clark College
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Molecular Pathogenesis Program
74 College St
512 Vail Building
Hanover NH 03755
Office: 504A Vail Building
The bacteria resident in the human gastrointestinal tract (the gut microbiota) potently influence diverse aspects of human health, including immunity. However, the forces that govern the composition of the gut microbiota are poorly understood. Our work focuses on a mechanistic, ecological, and evolutionary understanding of how interbacterial interactions between members of the dominant Gram-negative bacteria in the gut, the Bacteroidales, modulate the composition of the microbiota. The Bacteroidales utilize a contact-dependent toxin-delivery system known as the type VI secretion system (T6SS) to kill neighboring cells. We study the impact of this pathway on the microbiota and how bacteria adapt to defend against T6SS-mediated antagonism, using a combination of bacterial genetics, biochemistry, metagenomics, and germ-free mouse models. We are also interested in understanding why Bacteroidales abundance is depleted in individuals with cystic fibrosis, with the goal of improving health through restoration of these bacteria.
Dr. Ross is originally from the Pacific Northwest. He has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. He trained as a post-baccalaureate researcher with Dr. Andy Golden at the NIDDK in Bethesda, MD before moving to Seattle, WA for graduate school. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, under the mentorship of Dr. Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, for work investigating the causes and consequences of rapid evolution of genes essential for cell division in Drosophila species. He then trained as a postdoc with Dr. Joseph Mougous' in the University of Washington Department of Microbiology, before joining the Dartmouth College Department of Microbiology and Immunology as a faculty member in 2019.