Ben Willing

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept

Contact

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Ag, Food & Nutri Sci Dept
Email
willing@ualberta.ca
Phone
(780) 492-8908
Address
3-10D Agriculture/Forestry Centre
9011 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2P5

Overview

About

Degree

PhD, Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan

Postdoc, Microbiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Science

Postdoc, Microbiology and Immunology, Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia

Job/Research Area

Microbiology of Nutrigenomics


Research

Research Interests

A diverse and abundant population of symbiotic microbes colonizes the mammalian gastrointestinal tract. Imbalances in this microbial community contribute to many diseases including asthma, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and increased susceptibility to infection. These microbes shape how the host responds to changes in diet, yet we know relatively little about how different members of the microbiota contribute to this process. The objectives of my research are to understand how different members of the resident flora contribute to the metabolism of the diet and how this process contributes to microbial regulation of host physiology. In my research I manipulate microbial community structure using antibiotic and gnotobiotic (germ-free) animal models and use tissue culture, metabolomics and transcriptomics to study this complex system. By understanding the mechanisms through which microbes regulate host physiology and which bacteria are responsible will allow us to set targets for how we should alter the microbiota to promote health in livestock and humans.

Announcements

Opportunities

Please inquire to Dr. Willing by e-mail regarding graduate and undergraduate training opportunities.

Courses

AFNS 528 - Advances in Human Nutrition and the Intestinal Microbiome

Overview of the role of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract and the impact on human health, interaction with dietary components and potential dietary modulation of the microbiome in the prevention of chronic disease. Not to be taken if credit received for NU FS 428. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. *3 MICRB and *6 PHYSL recommended.

Winter Term 2022
AN SC 311 - Metabolic Physiology of Domestic Animals

The physiological basis of the metabolic processes in domestic animals. Includes a review of the physiological mechanisms and neuroendocrine regulation of digestion, metabolism, growth and lactation. Prerequisite: AN SC 310.

Winter Term 2022
NU FS 428 - Advances in Human Nutrition and the Intestinal Microbiome

Overview of the role of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract and the impact on human health, interaction with dietary components and potential dietary modulation of the microbiome in the prevention of chronic disease. Prerequisite: NUTR 301, NUTR 302, or NU FS 305. *3 MICRB and *6 PHYSL recommended.

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Ben Willing

Publications

Host immune selection of rumen bacteria through salivary secretory IgA
Author(s): Fouhse, J.M., Smiegielski, L., Tuplin, M., Guan, L.L., and Willing, B.P.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Frontiers in Microbiology
Volume: 8
Page Numbers: 00848
External Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5428161/
Nutrition, inflammation and gastrointestinal function in Swine, Sustainable Swine Nutrition
Author(s): Willing, B.P., Malik, G., and Van Kessel, A.G.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Chiba (Ed.) Wiley-Blackwell.
Page Numbers: 197-213

Bacterial stimulation of the TLR-MyD88 pathway modulates the homeostatic expression of ileal Paneth cell alpha defensins
Author(s): Menendez, A., Willing, B.P., Montero, M., Wlodarska, M., So, C.C., Bhinder, G., Vallance, B.A., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Journal of Innate Immunity

Early life antibiotic-driven changes in microbiota enhance susceptibility to allergic asthma
Author(s): Russell, S.L., Gold, M.J., Hartmann, M., Willing, B.P., Thorson, L., Wlodarska, M., Gill, N., Blanchet, M.R., Mohn, W.W., McNagny, K.M., and Finlay B.B.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: EMBO Reports
Volume: 13
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 440-447

Lactobacillus reuteri maintains a functional mucosal barrier during DSS treatment despite mucus layer dysfunction
Author(s): Dicksved J, Schreiber, O., Willing, B., Petersson, J., Rang, S., Phillipson, M., Holm, L., Roos, S.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: PLoS One
Page Numbers: e46399

Neutrophil elastase alters the murine gut microbiota resulting in enhanced Salmonella colonization
Author(s): Gill, N., Ferreira, R.B.R., Antunes, L.C.M., Willing, B.P., Sekirov, I., Al-Zahrani, F., Hartmann, M., Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: PLoS One
Page Numbers: e49646

Perinatal antibiotic treatment affects murine microbiota, immune responses, and allergic asthma
Author(s): Russell, S., Gold, M., Willing, B.P., Thorson, L., McNagny, K., Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Gut Microbes.

Altering host resistance to infections through microbial transplantation in mice
Author(s): Willing, B.P., Vacharaksa, A., Croxen, M., Thanachayanont, T., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: PLoS One
Page Numbers: e26988

Antibiotic treatment alters the colonic mucus layer and predisposes the host to exacerbated Citrobacter rodentium-induced colitis
Author(s): Wlodarska, M., Willing, B., Keeney, K.M., Menendez, A., Bergstrom, K.S., Gill, N., Russel, S.L., Vallance, B.A., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Infection and Immunity
Volume: 79
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 1536-1545

Harvesting the biological potential of the human gut microbiome
Author(s): Willing, B.P., Antunes, L.C.M., Keeney, K.M., Ferreira, R.B.R., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Bioessays
Volume: 33
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 414-418

Shifting the balance: antibiotic effects on host microbiota mutualism
Author(s): Willing, B.P., Russell, S.L., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Nature Reviews Microbiology
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 233-243

The gut microbiome: Ecology and function
Author(s): Willing, B.P. and Jansson, J.K.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: The Fecal Bacteria
Page Numbers: 39-65

The intestinal microbiota plays a role in Salmonella-induced colitis independent of pathogen colonization
Author(s): Ferreira, R.B., Gill, N., Willing, B.P., Antunes, L.C.M., Russell, S.L., Croxen, M.A., and Finlay B.B.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: PLoS One
Page Numbers: e20338

The role of dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel diseases
Author(s): Dicksved, J.D. and Willing, B.P.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology II: Metagenomics in Different Habitats
Page Numbers: 199-205

A pyrosequencing study in twins shows that GI microbial profiles vary with inflammatory bowel disease phenotypes
Author(s): Willing, B., Dicksved, J., Halfvarson, J., Andersson, A., Lucio, M., Zheng, Z., Järnerot, G., Tysk, C., Jansson, J.K., and Engstrand, L.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Gastroenterology
Volume: 139
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 1844-1854

Host pathways for recognition: Establishing gastrointestinal microbiota as relevant in animal health and nutrition
Author(s): Willing, B.P., and Van Kessel, A.G.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Livestock Science
Volume: 133
Page Numbers: 82-91

The role of the immune system in regulating the microbiota
Author(s): Willing, B.P., Gill, N., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Gut Microbes
Volume: 1
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 1-11

Changes in faecal bacteria associated with concentrate and forage-only diets fed to horses in training
Author(s): Willing, B., Vörös, A., Roos, S., Jones, C., Jansson, A., and Lindberg, J
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Equine Veterinary Journal
Volume: 41
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 908-914

Gut Microbiology: Fitting into the intestinal neighbourhood
Author(s): Willing, B.P., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Current Biology.
Volume: 19
Issue: 11
Page Numbers: R457-R459

Intestinal microbiota differentially affect brush border enzyme activity and gene expression in the neonatal gnotobiotic pig
Author(s): Willing, B.P. and Van Kessel, A.G.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Volume: 93
Page Numbers: 586-595

Metabolomics reveals metabolic biomarkers of Crohn’s disease
Author(s): Jansson, J.K., Willing, B., Lucio, M., Fekete, A., Dicksved, J., Halfvarson, J., Tysk, C. and Schmitt-Kopplin, P.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: PLoS One
Volume: 4
Issue: 7
Page Numbers: e6386

Twin studies reveal specific imbalances in the mucosa-associated microbiota of patients with ileal Crohn’s disease
Author(s): Willing, B., Halfvarson, J., Dicksved, J., Rosenquist, M., Järnerot, G., Engstrand, L., Tysk, C. and Jansson, J.K.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Volume: 15
Page Numbers: 653-660

Defining the role of Parasutterella, a prevoiusly uncharacterized member of the core gut microbiota
Author(s): Ju T, Kong JY, Stothard P, Willing BP
Publication: The ISME Journal

Early life antibiotic exposure affects pancreatic islet development and metabolic regulation
Author(s): Li, J., Yang, K., Ju, T.T., Ho, T., McKay, C., Gao, Y., Forget, S., Field, C.J., Chan, C.B., Willing, B.P.
Publication: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Page Numbers: 41778

Immunosuppressive treatment alters gut microbiota and innate immunity, and favors subsequent colonization by uropathogenic Escherichia coli
Author(s): Touret, J., Willing, B.P., Dion, S., MacPherson, J., Denamur, E., and Finlay, B.B.
Publication: Transplantation
Volume: 101
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 74-82

Koch’s postulates, microbial dysbiosis and inflammatory bowel disease
Author(s): Singh, V.P., Proctor, S., Willing, B.P.
Publication: Clinical microbiology and infection
Volume: 22
Issue: 7
Page Numbers: 594-599

Polyunsaturated fatty acid composition of parenteral nutrition impacts intestinal microbiota and host responses in neonatal piglets
Author(s): Lavallee, C.M., MacPherson, J.A., Zhou, M., Gao, Y., Wizzard, P.R., Wales, P.W., Turner, J.M., Willing, B.P
Publication: Journal of parenteral and enteral nutrition
Page Numbers: Doi: 10.1177/0148607116662972