Ben is originally from the Pacific Northwest and received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He then spent three years at the NIH as a technician at the NIDDK before entering graduate school at the University of Washington. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the lab of Dr. Harmit Malik, completing work on the functional consequences of rapid evolution of centromeres in Drosophila species. Ben then moved to the Department of Microbiology at UW, where he trained as a postdoc with Dr. Joseph Mougous. His postdoctoral work focused on understanding how bacterial constituents of the human gut microbiota utilize a intercellular protein-translocation pathway known as the type VI secretion system, and how the targets of this pathway adapt to antagonism. Outside of the lab, Ben loves to hike, whitewater kayak, garden, and spend time with his family.