McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Biological Sciences

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Joshua B Benoit

Title: Assistant Professor
Office: 711D Rieveschl Hall
Tel: 513-556-9714
Email: joshua.benoit@uc.edu
Web: http://insectphysiology.uc.edu

Insect stress tolerance, hormonal regulation of metabolism, reproductive physiology, molecular physiology, transcriptomics, insect-microbe interactions and vector biology

Education

  • B.S., Wittenberg University , 2005 (Biochemistry).
  • Ph.D., Ohio State University , 2009 (Entomology and Physiology).

Research Information

Research Interests

For more details, visit the Benoit Lab website Link

Mechanisms underlying insect stress tolerance, reproductive physiology, regulation of metabolism and aging are the encompassing themes of my research, with the goal of integrating these topics under whole system studies that use molecular-, organismal- and population-based approaches. The emphasis of my lab is on producing broadly-trained biologists that have knowledge and experience in a variety of techniques, allowing proficiency in bioinformatics, laboratory techniques and field research.  Although individuals within my lab are not limited to a specific insect system, there is a slant toward medically-important insects/arthropods such as mosquitoes, tsetse flies and ticks.  

Insect reproductive physiology. Insect reproduction varies from oviparity (egg production) to viviparity (birth of live young).  The main point of this research is on factors that influence egg production (mosquitoes, bed bugs) and production of live young (tsetse flies, cockroaches).  Research on tsetse flies and cockroaches focuses on the mobilization of maternal nutrients from stores to feed developing progeny within the mother, a process known as insect lactation.  The goal of these studies are to identify reproductive bottlenecks that could be used as targets for control of pestiferous insects.  Individuals focusing on this topic will have a broad understanding of the molecular mechanisms of reproductive physiology.  

Mechanisms of stress tolerance in insects. The ability of an organism to tolerate and respond to stress is critical to its establishment and persistence in specific localities.  The objectives of this research are to identify mechanisms utilized at multiple biological levels (molecular to population) by insects to prevent and recover from stress.  Projects investigating these responses range from direct measurement of insect stress tolerance to functional genomics and metabolomic analyses.  When possible field studies will be integrated into these projects to assess if mechanisms identified in the laboratory can be confirmed in natural populations.  Individuals working on these projects will have extensive knowledge of molecular mechanisms utilized by insect to prevent stress-induced damage and techniques necessary to investigate these mechanisms.

Regulation of nutrient storage and breakdown. Maintenance of nutrient levels is critical for organisms to maintain adequate body mass so they can function properly.  This research focuses on the role of insulin and other hormones in relation to the regulation of nutrient levels during progeny production, stress and starvation.  Projects involve the utilization of basic techniques of insect endocrinology and expand to the determination of large-scale transcript and proteome changes.  Two specific goals for this research: 1. determine the role of nutrient homeostasis during insect reproduction to reduce the fecundity of pest insects, and 2. identify factors that are similar among animals to promote insects as models for metabolic diseases.        

Aging. Aging and death are processes that affect every organism.  The process of aging is influenced by a multitude of factors including the genotype, stress exposure and reproduction.  The encompassing goal of the research topic is to determine how stress and reproduction alter longevity and fecundity. Specific topics include mechanisms by which individuals prevent damage at the molecular and organismal l

Research Support

  • (PI), Benoit, Joshua, URC Faculty Research Grants for 2013-2014, UC's University Research Council. (URC Faculty Research Grants for 2013-2014), $6,500.00. 01/23/2014 to 01/23/2014. Status: Active.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, Nelson, Blake W, Main, Leighanne R, & Bossley, Jon P (2015). Behavioral correction to prevent overhydration and increase survival by larvae of the net-spinning caddisflies in relation to water flow. The Journal of experimental biology, 218(Pt 3), 363-9.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Hansen, Immo A, Szuter, Elise M, Drake, Lisa L, Burnett, Denielle L, & Attardo, Geoffrey M (2014). Emerging roles of aquaporins in relation to the physiology of blood-feeding arthropods. Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology, 184(7), 811-25.
  • Michalkova, Veronika, Benoit, Joshua B, Weiss, Brian L, Attardo, Geoffrey M, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). Vitamin B6 generated by obligate symbionts is critical for maintaining proline homeostasis and fecundity in tsetse flies. Applied and environmental microbiology, 80(18), 5844-53.
  • Internationl Glossina Genome Initiative, (2014). Genome sequence of the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans): vector of African trypanosomiasis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6182), 380-6.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Michalkova, Veronika, Krause, Tyler B, Bohova, Jana, Zhang, Qirui, Baumann, Aaron A, Mireji, Paul O, Taká?, Peter, Denlinger, David L, Ribeiro, Jose M, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). A novel highly divergent protein family identified from a viviparous insect by RNA-seq analysis: a potential target for tsetse fly-specific abortifacients. PLoS genetics, 10(4), e1003874.
  • Brelsfoard, Corey, Tsiamis, George, Falchetto, Marco, Gomulski, Ludvik M, Telleria, Erich, Alam, Uzma, Doudoumis, Vangelis, Scolari, Francesca, Benoit, Joshua B, Swain, Martin, Takac, Peter, Malacrida, Anna R, Bourtzis, Kostas, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). Presence of extensive Wolbachia symbiont insertions discovered in the genome of its host Glossina morsitans morsitans. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(4), e2728.
  • Telleria, Erich Loza, Benoit, Joshua B, Zhao, Xin, Savage, Amy F, Regmi, Sandesh, Alves e Silva, Thiago Luiz, O'Neill, Michelle, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). Insights into the trypanosome-host interactions revealed through transcriptomic analysis of parasitized tsetse fly salivary glands. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(4), e2649.
  • Attardo, Geoffrey M, Benoit, Joshua B, Michalkova, Veronika, Patrick, Kevin R, Krause, Tyler B, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). The homeodomain protein ladybird late regulates synthesis of milk proteins during pregnancy in the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans). PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(4), e2645.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Hansen, Immo A, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Michalková, Veronika, Mireji, Paul O, Bargul, Joel L, Drake, Lisa L, Masiga, Daniel K, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). Aquaporins are critical for provision of water during lactation and intrauterine progeny hydration to maintain tsetse fly reproductive success. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8(4), e2517.
  • Michalkova, Veronika, Benoit, Joshua B, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Medlock, Jan, & Aksoy, Serap (2014). Amelioration of reproduction-associated oxidative stress in a viviparous insect is critical to prevent reproductive senescence. PloS one, 9(4), e87554.
  • Baumann, Aaron A, Benoit, Joshua B, Michalkova, Veronika, Mireji, Paul O, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Moulton, John K, Wilson, Thomas G, & Aksoy, Serap (2013). Juvenile hormone and insulin suppress lipolysis between periods of lactation during tsetse fly pregnancy. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 372(1-2), 30-41.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Michalkova, Veronika, Takác, Peter, Bohova, Jana, & Aksoy, Serap (2012). Sphingomyelinase activity in mother's milk is essential for juvenile development: a case from lactating tsetse flies. Biology of reproduction, 87(1), 17, 1-10.
  • Attardo, Geoffrey M, Benoit, Joshua B, Michalkova, Veronika, Yang, Guangxiao, Roller, Ladislav, Bohova, Jana, Taká?, Peter, & Aksoy, Serap (2012). Analysis of lipolysis underlying lactation in the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans. Insect biochemistry and molecular biology, 42(5), 360-70.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Jajack, Andrew J, & Yoder, Jay A (2012). Multiple traumatic insemination events reduce the ability of bed bug females to maintain water balance. Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology, 182(2), 189-98.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Yang, Guangxiao, Krause, Tyler B, Patrick, Kevin R, Aksoy, Serap, & Attardo, Geoffrey M (2011). Lipophorin acts as a shuttle of lipids to the milk gland during tsetse fly pregnancy. Journal of insect physiology, 57(11), 1553-61.
  • Yi, Shu-Xia, Benoit, Joshua B, Elnitsky, Michael A, Kaufmann, Nancy, Brodsky, Jeffrey L, Zeidel, Mark L, Denlinger, David L, & Lee, Richard E (2011). Function and immuno-localization of aquaporins in the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica. Journal of insect physiology, 57(8), 1096-105.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, LaCagnin, Michael J, & Hobbs, Horton H (2011). Increased cave dwelling reduces the ability of cave crickets to resist dehydration. Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology, 181(5), 595-601.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Patrick, Kevin R, Phillips, Zachary P, Krause, Tyler B, & Denlinger, David L (2011). Drinking a hot blood meal elicits a protective heat shock response in mosquitoes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(19), 8026-9.
  • Urbanski, Jennifer M, Benoit, Joshua B, Michaud, M Robert, Denlinger, David L, & Armbruster, Peter (2010). The molecular physiology of increased egg desiccation resistance during diapause in the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 277(1694), 2683-92.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Patrick, Kevin R, Desai, Karina, Hardesty, Jeffrey J, Krause, Tyler B, & Denlinger, David L (2010). Repeated bouts of dehydration deplete nutrient reserves and reduce egg production in the mosquito Culex pipiens. The Journal of experimental biology, 213(Pt 16), 2763-9.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Condon, Michael R, Hart, Chloé E, Collier, Matthew H, Patrick, Kevin R, & Benoit, Joshua B (2010). Use of an alarm pheromone against ants for gaining access to aphid/scale prey by the red velvet mite Balaustium sp. (Erythraeidae) in a honeydew-rich environment. The Journal of experimental biology, 213(3), 386-92.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Phillips, Zachary P, Patrick, Kevin R, & Denlinger, David L (2010). Heat shock proteins contribute to mosquito dehydration tolerance. Journal of insect physiology, 56(2), 151-6.
  • Elnitsky, Michael A, Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Denlinger, David L, & Lee, Richard E (2009). Osmoregulation and salinity tolerance in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica: seawater exposure confers enhanced tolerance to freezing and dehydration. The Journal of experimental biology, 212(17), 2864-71.
  • Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Benoit, Joshua B, Rinehart, Joseph P, Elnitsky, Michael A, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2009). Dehydration, rehydration, and overhydration alter patterns of gene expression in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology, 179(4), 481-91.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Phillips, Seth A, Croxall, Travis J, Christensen, Brady S, Yoder, Jay A, & Denlinger, David L (2009). Addition of alarm pheromone components improves the effectiveness of desiccant dusts against Cimex lectularius. Journal of medical entomology, 46(3), 572-9.
  • Li, Aiqing, Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Elnitsky, Michael A, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2009). Distinct contractile and cytoskeletal protein patterns in the Antarctic midge are elicited by desiccation and rehydration. Proteomics, 9(10), 2788-98.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Elnitsky, Michael A, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2009). Dehydration-induced cross tolerance of Belgica antarctica larvae to cold and heat is facilitated by trehalose accumulation. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology, 152(4), 518-23.
  • Elnitsky, Michael A, Benoit, Joshua B, Denlinger, David L, & Lee, Richard E. Desiccation tolerance and drought acclimation in the Antarctic collembolan Cryptopygus antarcticus. Journal of insect physiology, 54(10-11), 1432-9.
  • Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Elnitsky, Michael A, Benoit, Joshua B, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2008). High resistance to oxidative damage in the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica, and developmentally linked expression of genes encoding superoxide dismutase, catalase and heat shock proteins. Insect biochemistry and molecular biology, 38(8), 796-804.
  • Teets, Nicholas M, Elnitsky, Michael A, Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Denlinger, David L, & Lee, Richard E (2008). Rapid cold-hardening in larvae of the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica: cellular cold-sensing and a role for calcium. American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology, 294(6), R1938-46.
  • Robert Michaud, M, Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Elnitsky, Michael A, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2008). Metabolomics reveals unique and shared metabolic changes in response to heat shock, freezing and desiccation in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. Journal of insect physiology, 54(4), 645-55.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Glenn, Brian D, Benoit, Joshua B, & Zettler, Lawrence W (2008). The giant Madagascar hissing-cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) as a source of antagonistic moulds: concerns arising from its use in a public setting. Mycoses, 51(2), 95-8.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, Denlinger, David L, Tank, Justin L, & Zettler, Lawrence W (2008). An endosymbiotic conidial fungus, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, protects the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, from desiccation imposed by an entomopathogenic fungus. Journal of invertebrate pathology, 97(2), 119-27.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Lopez-Martinez, Giancarlo, Michaud, M Robert, Elnitsky, Michael A, Lee, Richard E, & Denlinger, David L (2007). Mechanisms to reduce dehydration stress in larvae of the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. Journal of insect physiology, 53(7), 656-67.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Del Grosso, Nicholas A, Yoder, Jay A, & Denlinger, David L (2007). Resistance to dehydration between bouts of blood feeding in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is enhanced by water conservation, aggregation, and quiescence. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 76(5), 987-93.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, & Denlinger, David L (2007). Suppression of water loss during adult diapause in the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens. The Journal of experimental biology, 210(Pt 2), 217-26.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, Denlinger, David L, & Rivers, David B (2006). Stress-induced accumulation of glycerol in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga bullata: evidence indicating anti-desiccant and cryoprotectant functions of this polyol and a role for the brain in coordinating the response. Journal of insect physiology, 52(2), 202-14.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, Rellinger, Eric J, & Ark, Jacob T (2005). Critical transition temperature and activation energy with implications for arthropod cuticular permeability. Journal of insect physiology, 51(10), 1063-5.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, Yoder, Jay A, Rellinger, Eric J, Ark, Jacob T, & Keeney, George D (2005). Prolonged maintenance of water balance by adult females of the American spider beetle, Mezium affine Boieldieu, in the absence of food and water resources. Journal of insect physiology, 51(5), 565-73.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, Rellinger, Eric J, & Telford, Sam R (2005). Failure of ticks to transmit Scopulariopsis brevicaulis (Deuteromycota), a common filamentous fungal commensal of ticks. Journal of medical entomology, 42(3), 383-7.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Benoit, Joshua B, & Opaluch, Amanda M (2004). Water relations in eggs of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, with experimental work on the capacity for water vapor absorption. Experimental & applied acarology, 33(3), 235-42.
  • Yoder, Jay A, Hanson, Peter E, Zettler, Lawrence W, Benoit, Joshua B, Ghisays, Fiorella, & Piskin, Kurt A (2003). Internal and external mycoflora of the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae), and its ecological implications. Applied and environmental microbiology, 69(8), 4994-6.

Book Chapter

  • Benoit, Joshua B (2010). Water management by dormant insects: comparisons between dehydration resistance during summer aestivation and winter diapause. Progress in molecular and subcellular biology, 49, 209-29.

Review

  • Benoit, Joshua B, Attardo, Geoffrey M, Baumann, Aaron A, Michalkova, Veronika, & Aksoy, Serap (2015). Adenotrophic viviparity in tsetse flies: potential for population control and as an insect model for lactation. Annual review of entomology, 60, 351-71.
  • Benoit, Joshua B, & Denlinger, David L (2010). Meeting the challenges of on-host and off-host water balance in blood-feeding arthropods. Journal of insect physiology, 56(10), 1366-76.

Experience & Service

Post Graduate training and Education

  • 2010 to 2013, Post-Doctoral Fellow , Yale School of Public Health , New Haven, CT.

Courses Taught

  • -BIOL-6002C BIOINFORMATICS
    Level: Both