David Benson


Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM)
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Jefferson Science Fellow

University of Connecticut
Department of Molecular & Cell Biology
91 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3125
Biology/Physics Building 408
Storrs, CT 06269-3125

Telephone: 860- 486-4258
Fax: 860- 486-4331


Education: Ph.D. Microbiology, Rutgers University; Postdoctoral study, Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin

Research Interests: Microbial physiology and prokaryotic molecular biology. Evolution and molecular ecology of plant microbe symbioses in actinorhizal plants. Physiology, biochemistry, and evolution of bacteria. Ecology and diversity of microorganisms in foods.

Selected Publications (download full CV):

Brooks, J. M. and D. R. Benson.  2016.  Comparative metabolomics of root nodules infected with Frankia sp. strains and uninfected roots from Alnus glutinosa and Casuarina cunninghamiana reflects physiological integration.  Symbiosis doi: 10.1007/s13199-016-0379-x.

Normand, P.. Benson, D. R.. Berry. A. M. and L. S. Tisa. 2014. 183. Family Frankiaeceae. In E. Rosenberg et al. (eds.), The Prokaryotes – Actinobacteria, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-30138-4_183, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. (In Press)

Marcellino, N. and D. R. Benson. 2013. The good, the bad and the ugly: Tales of mold-ripened cheeses. Microbiol Spectrum 1(1): doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.CM-0005-12.

Normand, P. and D. R. Benson. 2012. Family I. Frankiaceae Becking 1970, 201AL emend. Hahn, Lechevalier, Fischer and stackebrandt 1989, 241 emend. Normand, Orso, Cournoyer, Jeannin, Chapelon, Dawson, Evtushenko and Misra 1996, 8 emend. Stackebrandt, Rainey and Ward-Rainey 1997, 487. pp. 511 In Bergeys Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Volume 5 The Actinobacteria. In Press.

T. Persson, D. R. BENSON, P. Normand, B. Vanden Heuvel, P. Pujic, O. Chertkov, H. Teshima, D. Bruce, C. Detter, R. Tapia, C. Han, J. Han, T. Woyke, S. Pitluck, L. Pennacchio, M. Nolan, N. Ivanova, A. Pati, M. Land, K. Pawlowski, and A. Berry. 2011. The genome of Candidatus Frankia datiscae Dg1, the uncultured microsymbiont from nitrogen-fixing root nodules of the dicot Datisca glomerata. J. Bacteriol. 193:7017-7018.

Benson, D. R., J. M. Brooks, Y. Huang, D. M. Bickhart and J. E. Mastronunzio. 2011. The biology of Frankia sp. strains in the post-genome era. Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 24:1310-1316.

Derek M. Bickhart and David R. Benson. 2011. Transcriptomes of Frankia sp. strain CcI3 in growth transitions. BMC Microbiology 11:192 [doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-192]

Mastronunzio, J. E and D. R. Benson. 2010. Wild nodules can be broken: proteomics of Frankia in field-collected root nodules. Symbiosis 49:10.1007/s13199-009-0030-1.

Bickhart, D. M., J. P. Gogarten, P. Lapierre, L. S. Tisa, P. Normand and D. R. Benson. 2009. Insertion sequence content reflects genome plasticity in strains of the root nodule actinobacterium Frankia. BMC Genomics 10:468-480.

Mastronunzio, J. E., Y. Huang, and D. R. Benson. 2009. Diminished Exoproteome of Frankia spp. in Culture and Symbiosis. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 75: 6721-6728

Sen, A., S. Sur, A. K. Bothra, D. R. Benson, P. Normand and L. S. Tisa. 2008. The implication of life style on codon usage patterns and predicted highly expressed genes for three Frankia genomes. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 93:335–346.

Mastronunzio, J. E., L. S. Tisa, P. Normand and D. R. Benson. 2008. Comparative secretome analysis suggests low plant cell wall degrading capacity in Frankia symbionts. BMC Genomics 9:47-65.

Santos CL, Vieira J, Tavares F, Benson DR, Tisa LS, Berry AM, Moradas-Ferreira P, Normand P. 2008. On the nature of fur evolution: a phylogenetic approach in Actinobacteria. BMC Evol Biol. 2008 Jun 25;8(1):185.

Normand, P., P. Lapierre, L. S. Tisa, J. P. Gogarten, N. Alloisio, E.Bagnarol, C.A. Bassi, A.M. Berry, D. M. Bickhart, N. Choisne,, A. Couloux, B. Cournoyer, S. Cruveiller, V. Daubin, N. Demange, M. P. Francino, E. Goltsman, Y. Huang, O.R. Kopp, L. Labarre, A. Lapidus, C. Lavire, J. Marechal, M. Martinez, J. E. Mastronunzio, B. C. Mullin, J. Niemann, P. Pujic, T. Rawnsley, Z. Rouy, C. Schenowitz, A. Sellstedt, F. Tavares, J. P. Tomkins, D.Vallenet, C. Valverde, L.G. Wall, Y.Wang, C. Medigue, & D. R. Benson. 2007. Genome sizes of facultatively symbiotic Frankia sp. strains reflect host plant biogeography. Genome Res. 17:7-15.

Brian D. Vanden Heuvel, David R. Benson, Esteban Bortiri, and Daniel Potter. 2004. Low genetic diversity among Frankia spp. strains nodulating sympatric populations of actinorhizal species of Rosaceae, Ceanothus (Rhamnaceae)and Datisca glomerata (Datiscaceae) west of the Sierra Nevada (California). Can. J. Microbiol. 50(11):989-1000

Benson M. J, J. D. Gawronski D. E. Eveleigh and D. R. Benson. 2004. Intracellular symbionts and other bacteria associated with deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) from Nantucket and Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70:616-620.