Ran Blekhman, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Ran Blekhman

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-4092

PhD, University of Chicago, 2010


Research Summary/Interests

Human Microbiome, Human Genomics
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.


  • Functional genomics of host-microbiome interactions in humans. F. Luca, S.S. Kupfer, D. Knights, A. Khoruts, R. Blekhman, Trends in Genetics, 2017.
  • Discrete mutations in colorectal cancer correlate with defined microbial communities in the tumor microenvironment. M.B. Burns, E. Montassier, J. Abrahante, T.K. Starr, D. Knights, R. Blekhman. BioRxiv, 2017.
  • Genetic ancestry and natural selection drive population differences in immune responses to pathogens. Y. Nédélec, J. Sanz, G. Baharian, Z. A. Szpiech, A. Pacis, A. Dumaine, J.C. Grenier, A. Freiman, A. J. Sams, S. Hebert, A. P. Sabourin, F. Luca, R. Blekhman, R. D. Hernandez, R. Pique-Regi, J. Tung, V. Yotova, and L. B. Barreiro. Cell, 2016.
  • Gut microbiome of coexisting BaAka pygmies and Bantu reflects gradients of traditional subsistence patterns. A. Gomez, K. Petrzelkova, M. B. Burns, C. J. Yeoman, K. R. Amato, K. Vlckova, D. Modry, A. Todd, C. A. Jost Robinson, M. Remis, M. Torralba, E. Morton, J. D. Umana, F. Carbonero, H. R. Gaskins, K. E. Nelson, B. A. Wilson, R. M. Stumpf, B. A. White, S. R. Leigh, and R. Blekhman. Cell Reports, 2016.
  • Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition across human body sites. R. Blekhman, J. K. Goodrich, K. Huang, Q. Sun, R. Bukowski, J. T. Bell, T. D. Spector, A. Keinan, R. E. Ley, D. Gevers, and A. G. Clark. Genome Biology,2015.
  • Variation in rural African gut microbiota is strongly correlated with colonization by Entamoeba and subsistence. E. R. Morton, J. Lynch, A. Froment, S. Lafosse , E. Heyer , M. Przeworski, R. Blekhman, and L. Segurel. PLOS Genetics, 2015.
  • Virulence genes are a signature of the microbiome in the colorectal tumor microenvironment. M. B. Burns, J. Lynch, T. K. Starr, D. Knights, and R. Blekhman. Genome Medicine, 2015
  • Social networks predict gut microbiome composition in wild baboons. J. Tung, L. B. Barreiro, M. B. Burns, J.-C. Grenier, J. Lynch, L. E. Grieneisen, J. Altmann, S. C. Alberts, R. Blekhman, and E. A. Archie. eLife, 2015
  • Human genetics shape the gut microbiome. J. K. Goodrich, J. L. Waters, A. C. Poole, J. L. Sutter, O. Koren, R. Blekhman, M. Beaumont, W. Van Treuren, R. Knight, J. T. Bell, T. Spector, A. G. Clark, and R. E. Ley. Cell, 2014