Benjamin Hoover (2021)

I grew up in Virginia and Ohio, where my first taste of ‘scientific’ experiments nearly burnt down the garage. In college at Duke, I majored in biology and joined a lab that explored the post translational control of gene expression by RNA binding proteins. This interest in the complex relationships between proteins eventually led me to the National Institutes of Health. There, I spent a year investigating the toxin produced by Anthrax and assisted in the reengineering of that toxin to preferentially target cancer cells. I was captivated by the pathogen’s ability to communicate with its host’s cells and to exploit their machinery. However, I became increasingly interested in the mechanisms through which even non-pathogenic bacteria interact with host cells, specifically in the gut, where healthy function requires a perfectly balanced web of constantly shifting relationships. Back at Duke for medical school, I joined the Bohorquez Lab. We investigated the basic circuitry through which signals in the gut and brain communicate, using 3D electron microscopy to better understand the structure of sensory cells and mouse models to interrogate the gut’s effect on behavior.

During clinical rotations, I discovered a love of psychiatry and pursued residency training at MGH-McLean. The program’s wide range of clinical experiences and the balanced emphasis on both clinical training and research experience made it a great fit. Now, I am a PGY-3 resident. My interest in the gut brain axis continues and I have joined the Kahn Lab, where I using mouse and IPSC models to study the role of insulin signaling in astrocyte-neuron communication. Over the coming year, I look forward to making further strides in these investigations, while continuing to grow as a clinician.


Duke University, M.D., 2017
Duke University, B.S., 2012


Hoover, B., Baena, V., Kaelberer, M. M., Getaneh, F., Chinchilla, S., & Bohórquez, D. V. (2017). The intestinal tuft cell nanostructure in 3D. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1652.

Peters, D. E., Hoover, B., Cloud, L. G., Liu, S., Molinolo, A. A., Leppla, S. H., & Bugge, T. H. (2014). Comparative toxicity and efficacy of engineered anthrax lethal toxin variants with broad anti-tumor activities. Toxicology and applied pharmacology, 279(2), 220-229.

Bachran, C., Gupta, P. K., Bachran, S., Leysath, C. E., Hoover, B., Fattah, R. J., & Leppla, S. H. (2014). Reductive methylation and mutation of an anthrax toxin fusion protein modulates its stability and cytotoxicity. Scientific reports, 4.

Liu, S., Zhang, Y., Hoover, B., & Leppla, S. H. (2012). The receptors that mediate the direct lethality of anthrax toxin. Toxins, 5(1), 1-8.