Dr. Belenky Awarded Dean’s Excellence Awards in Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences – May 2024

Bake Off Champions!

The Lab earned another trophy at this year’s MMI/Pathobiology Holiday Party with our “Tribute to the Triassic” creation

Ice Cream Summer

An important research question: what’s the best ice cream in the Providence area?

Zooming into 2021

The 2020 holiday gift swap looked a bit different than past years, but we had fun nonetheless!

Cheers Ellie!

Congratulations to Ellie for publishing her newest (and first!) paper! Check out her work in Frontiers in Microbiology entitled, “Defining the Distinct Skin and Gut Microbiomes of the Northern Pike” September 12th, 2019

The noble steed

Another trip to New Hampshire wouldn’t be successful without visiting Trot Trot at Polly’s Pancake Parlor. July 12th, 2019

Parasites and Bacteria

Check out Aislinn’s new paper in Scientific Reports. Urogenital schistosomiasis is associated with signatures of microbiome dysbiosis in Nigerian adolescents. Jan 29, 2019

Mel is Awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

Congratulations to Mel for this prestigious accomplishment! March 2023.


Ben successfully defended his thesis titled “Antibiotic Resistance: Development and Dissemination in vitro and in the Marine Environment”. We wish Ben good luck on his next adventure and we’ll miss him! May 2022.


Jenna successfully defended her thesis titled “Macronutrient Availability Influences Antibiotic Susceptibility Through Changes in Microbiome Metabolic Function”. We wish Jenna good luck in her new position at Seres Therapeutics and we’ll miss her! Dec 2022.

Welcome Mel and CJ!

Two new graduate students, Mel and CJ, join the lab. We’re excited to see where their projects take them!

Welcome Stephen!

Dr. Stephen Costa joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher. Stephen earned his PhD at Dartmouth University for his work on antimicrobial peptide sensing in Staphylococcus epdermidis. 2022.

(PrEP)ping the Microbiome

Congratulations to Ellie for publishing a paper titled “Evaluation of the Microbiome in Men taking Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention.” Jan 4, 2021. 

Welcome Chapman!

Dr. Chapman Beekman joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher. Chapman earned his PhD at Brown University for his work on Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of White-Nose Syndrome. We’re excited to have him on our team! January 2021.

Summer Student Success

The lab hosted two undergraduate students, Lauren Heinzinger and Angus Johnson, as part of the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program. Their work culminated in a publication titled “Oxygen and Metabolism: Digesting Determinants of Antibiotic Susceptibility in the Gut.” Nov 30, 2020.

Welcome Rachel and Goodluck Ellie!

Rachel Peterson joins the lab as a research assistant and we say goodbye to Ellie as she leaves to pursue a PhD at UC Berkeley. August 2020.

Grants Galore!

The Belenky Lab receives an RO1 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (July 7, 2020) and a grant from the USDA (June 1, 2020)!

Welcome Katherine!

Dr. Katherine Antosca joins the lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher. Katherine earned her PhD at Dartmouth College for her work on cystic fibrosis. We’re excited to have her on our team! July 2020.

The Microbiome and Depression in Young Adults

Congratulations to Aislinn for publishing a paper titled “Reductions in Anti-Inflammatory Gut Bacteria are Associated with Depression in a Sample of Young Adults.” Mar 27, 2020. 

Resistance Genes in Mice 

Check out Ben’s new paper titled “Metatransciptomics Reveals Antibiotic-Induced Resistance Gene Expression in the Murine Gut Microbiota.” Mar 6, 2020. 

Grant Graciously Granted from the NCCIH

The Belenky lab is grateful for our most recent grant from the National Center for the Complementary and Integrative Health

RI Microbiome Symposium 2020

The inaugural symposium is right around the corner (Jan 16-17). We have organized an exciting program of local speakers/posters and two amazing keynote speakers – Dr. Sarah Hird and Dr. Tami Lieberman. Check it out/apply here


Aislinn successfully defended her thesis titled “The Human Gut Microbiome in the Context of Disease and Disruption”. We wish her good luck in her new position at Finch Therapeutics and we’ll miss her! Dec 2019.


Damien successfully defended his thesis titled “Compositional and Functional Response of the Microbiota to Antibiotic Therapy and Dietary Modulation”. We wish him good luck in his new position at Merck and we’ll miss him! Nov 2019.

Sharing the Wealth of Knowledge

Lab members Damien, Jenna, Ben, and Ellie travelled to 2019’s Boston Bacterial Meeting at Harvard University. June 6th and 7th, the four gave talks and posters. Jenna’s talk, pictured above, shared her thesis on how the “Host hyperglycemia impacts antibiotic efficacy within the murine gut microbiome” while Damien shared, top right, his work on the “Potential role of polysaccharide utilization in the response of the gut microbiome to antibiotics”. Not pictured were Ellie’s poster on the 

Stella Yun presented her senior thesis project “Impacts of genotoxic agents on rates of ribosomal mutations in the 30S ribosomal rpsE gene” at the 2019 Ivy League Undergraduate Research Symposium (ILURS). April 19-21st.

Welcome Rachael!

We are honored to welcome Rachael Nilson into the Belenky lab! Welcome, welcome, welcome! April 15, 2019

The Welcome cake!

Chef Damien hit it out of the park with this one. The cake boasts layers of funfetti brushed with milk and vanilla extra, vanilla frosting, and birthday cake crumbs! It was delicious! Click below for Christina Tosi’s recipe.

Talking the talk

Damien and Swathi attended the 2019 Keystone Symposia, March 10 to 14. Damien, pictured above, gave a talk as well as a poster on “Microbial metabolism is a major determinant of antibiotic susceptibility within the microbiome.” On the right, Swathi converses about her project; “Metagenomic analysis of diet and antibiotic interactions in the gut microbiome”. 

Cheers to Aislinn’s newest paper!

The lab celebrates Aislinn’s newest paper! Check out the manuscript “Urogenital schistosomiasis is associated with widespread impacts on the adolescent intestinal microbiome”. Jan 29th, 2019

The Holidays in Providence

The Belenky lab turned out for the Holiday Bake-Off with a winter wonderland. Much like Willy Wonka’s factory, this wonderland is edible featuring a holiday house, coconut snow and cake pop trees. Flavors include lemon strawberry in pink, dulce de leche and coconut in white, and red velvet oreo in green. Congratulations to this year’s winner Mayara of the Vaishnava lab who took home the golden rolling pin with her delicious Brazilian carrot cake! December 23rd

The Belenky lab convenes for the annual holiday party to celebrate a great year over dumplings and fermented foods (below). In 365 days, we saw 7 publications and 3 marriages, a Belenky lab record all around. Cheers to everyone’s hard work! December 11th, 2018

Funding Granted

The Belenky lab receives a grant from the Center for Computational Biology of Human Disease (COBRE). November 1st, 2018

Subtle Costumes

For this Halloween, we chose to cosplay as an ecology lab for the day. Thinking about evolutionary relationships between microbial players…

October 31st, 2018

Out Fishing

Ben and Peter take a trip to the Narangansett Bay to sample more fish microbiomes with Captain Bert.

November 18, 2018

Sunshine and pancakes

The lab goes to New Hampshire for the annual Belenky Lab retreat and visit to Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH! July 27, 2018

ASM Microbe Meeting – 2018

The Belenky lab attends ASM Microbe 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Congratulations to Damien for receiving the Outstanding Abstract Award for his poster: “Microbial metabolism is a major determinant of antibiotic susceptibility within the microbiome.” Aislinn poster: “Urogenital schistosomiasis is associated with signatures of microbiome dysbiosis in Nigerian adolescents.” Ben poster: “The induction of natural transformation in B. subtilis in modulated by genotoxic stress.” Jenna poster: “Impacts of acute hyperglycemia on the response of the murine microbiome to antibiotic exposure” June 10, 2018








This week we say hello and goodbye to two lab members. Will leaves the lab to pursue a PhD at the University of Washington as Ellie joins the Belenky lab as research assistant. Welcome and good luck! Aloha, salut, ciao, servus, shalom, and cheerio. June 4-6, 2018

When life gives you kimchi

Check out our vegan kimchi work in the news:

  • Science Daily May 1st
  • Smithsonian Magazine April 7th
  • Futurity May 1st
  • News from Brown  May 1st
  • Daily Herald April 22nd
  • Cosmos Magazine May 4th

She’s a power house!

We are proud of Michelle as she has proven herself time and again. Her hard work over these past four years has culminated in multiple accomplishments within the past two months.

  • Brown Distinguished Thesis Award. May 28
  • The second chapter of her thesis published in MDPI’s Foods“Microbial community analysis of sauerkraut fermentation reveals a stable and rapidly established community.” May 14
  • Fulbright Scholarship! Michelle will be studying the microbiomes of fermented food in the Philippines. April 12
  • The first chapter of her thesis published in the journal Food Microbiology; “The impact of vegan production on the kimchi microbiome.” April 2

Hello to You and You and You

Welcome to the lab Swathi! After two summers in the lab, we know Swathi has skills to make it far and we can’t wait to see what you will do.

Also this week, Damien continues to pursue the intersections of Science and Public Policy. As part of ASBMB’s annual Hill day Damien met with Senator Elizabeth Warren, and representatives Joe Kennedy and Bill Keating. April 12-16th, 2018

The High Potential of Two

Jenna and Ben were both awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Deserved on both accounts, Jenna and Ben join the lab as the 2nd and 3rd to be awarded this prestigious fellowship. As early career scientists their hard work and high potential is clearly striking. April 4, 2018

Fungicidal Antagonism

Check out Damien and Swathi’s new paper published in Microbial CellMarch 7, 2018

Little Belenky

The Belenky Lab reclaims the Golden Rolling Pin at the Annual Holiday Bake-Off. December 20th, 2017

The Stellar Stella

Stella is awarded the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA). Congratulations Stella! Feburary 16th, 2018

Salivary Microbiome

Damien and Jenna publish their new paper, entitled “The salivary microbiome is consistent between subjects and resistant to impacts of short-term hospitalization” Check it out in  Nature’s Scientific Reports. August 24th, 2017

Part of the Crew

Peter and Ben joined the crew of a research vessel, Cap’n Bert, to sample fish microbiomes in the Naragansett Bay. July 25, 2017

Ready to Chomp Down

The Belenky Lab celebrates the summer with the annual trip to the hills of New Hampshire. The watermelon shark put up a fight, but in the end, it was delicious. July 14, 2017

Juniors Shay Trotman and Michelle Zabat awarded UTRAs (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award) for summer research with the Belenky lab. June 12th, 2017

Jenna Wurster and Benjamin Korry join the lab as pre-doctoral graduate students. May 1st, 2017

Will Sano joined the Belenky lab as research assistant. January 16th, 2017 

The Belenky lab awarded the COBRE Center for Computational Biology of Human Disease (CBHD) Pilot Award! December 20th, 2016

Damien Cabral receives the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Absolutely fantastic work! March 30th, 2016 

Junior Naveen Balakrishnan is awarded an UTRA (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award)! He will join us this summer to continue work on his honors thesis. March 15, 2016


Check out Aislinn and Damien’s newest mini review in Microbial Cell. “Bactericidal antibiotics induce programmed metabolic toxicity” March 9th, 2016


Michelle Zabat awarded the Dean’s Summer Fellowship! We’ll see you after finals for more research. Feburary 15, 2016  

Our Cell Reports paper made it into the Brown Medicine Magazine! Check out the article. December 15, 2016

This week, you can find Peter Belenky in the city’s Business News section. Read his answer to 5 important questions. November 2, 2015 

The Belenky Lab hits the press again this week. The Brown News covers our recent Cell Reports paper in its latest issue. October 30, 2015 

Antibiotics, Bacteria, and Exhaustion

Peter publishes a look into the toxicity of antibiotics. Check it the article, titled “Bactericidal antibiotics induce toxic metabolic perturbations that lead to cellular damage” in Cell Reports. November 3, 2015


The Brown News features Peter in a Faculty Profile. October 27th, 2015

Peter recieves Brown University’s DEANS Award for his work on “The response of the microbiome to narrow vs broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy.” July 1st, 2015

Check out Peter’s new paper published in PNAS, entitled, “Antibiotic efficacy is linked to bacterial cellular respiration”. June 24th, 2015

Damien Cabral and Aislinn Rowan join the Belenky Lab! Welcome, welcome, welcome!  April 15th, 2015

RI-INBRE awarded as part of Early Career Development for Peter’s work “The impact of cellular NAD metabolism on antifungal toxicity”. May 1st, 2015

Peter accepts the Seed Award from Brown University for his work, “Metatranscriptomic analysis to profile oral microbiome responses to broad-spectrum antibiotics during treatment of community-acquired pneumonia”. April 1st, 2015

Peter is honored to accept the Richard B. Salomon Research Award from Brown University for his work on “The impacts of antibiotics on horizontal gene transfer in the microbiome”. Feburary 26, 2015 

Check out the latest Faculty Profile on Peter! November 26th, 2014 

Peter publishes his newest paper in PNAS, entitled, “Antibiotics induce redox-related physiological alterations as part of their lethality” May 20th, 2014