Ben Brandsen, Ph.D.

BenBrandsen.jpg Ben Brandsen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Creighton University

Grand Rapids, MI 

Year you joined the INBRE program: 2020 

Research focus? Biosynthesis and directed evolution of peptide antibiotics 

Goal of your research? We hope to better understand the natural biosynthetic pathways that produce peptide antibiotics and to engineer these pathways to make new compounds with (hopefully) interesting antibiotic activity. 

Your research will make a difference because? Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are a growing threat to public health, and we urgently need new antibiotics for which resistance has not yet evolved. 

Why is it important to mentor undergraduate students? I think research can be a transformational experience for undergraduate students. Work in a research lab is often an undergraduate student’s first taste of doing real science, and students realize how challenging real scientific research can be! With that realization comes an appreciation for the scientific breakthroughs they have learned about in their classes and excitement when they finally reach one of their scientific goals. In addition, research experiences help students begin to understand the scientific process, think critically about their hypotheses and results, and ask new scientific questions. (And selfishly, as a mentor, I find it interesting and rewarding to watch undergraduate students develop as scientists!) 

Three things people may not know about you. 

  1. I love playing and watching hockey. I have been a fan of the Detroit Red Wings my whole life, although they have tested my commitment the last couple of years.
  2. I am absolutely obsessed with making pizza at home! (And my wife and daughter are very sick of my obsession.)
  3. I love my job at Creighton! I have great colleagues, I get to teach and research with wonderful students, and I love being part of the Creighton community.