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

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences


Joshua B Benoit

Title:  Assistant Professor
Office:  711D Rieveschl Hall
Tel: 513-556-9714

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


B.S., Wittenberg University , 2005 (Biochemistry).

Ph.D., Ohio State University , 2009 (Entomology and Physiology).

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. Date: 01/23/2014 to 01/23/2014. Status: Active.

Peer Reviewed Publications

International 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.

Telleria, Erich Loza, Benoit, Joshua B, Zhao, Xin, Savage, Amy F, Regmi, Sandesh, E Silva, Thiago Luiz Alves, 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.

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.

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.

Post Graduate Training & Education

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

Courses Taught