February 22, 2023

On March 1st, 2023, M&I will welcome Qinnan Yang, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Eric Martens’s lab.

Dr. Yang is interested in identifying and characterizing traits in plants that influence the human microbiome. He also studies the mechanisms by which gut microbes utilize different nutrients in the human gut. Dr. Yang has studied a variety of foods from sorghum to goat milk powder, in the U.S. and in China. He has several publications in major journals such as Nature Communicationsand Gut Microbes.

"What amazes me the most is the enormous undiscovered diversity and potential of leveraging diet to modulate the human gut microbiome, even from the same plant species, for example, sorghum."—Qinnan Yang, Ph.D.

Yang received his Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Nebraska Food for Health Center, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, from 2021 until now.

As a graduate research assistant in the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he studied the effects of waxy starch on the human gut microbiome. He performed genetic analysis of seed traits in sorghum bicolor that affect the human gut microbiome. He also analyzed sex bias in gut microbiome transmission in newly-paired marmosets (Callithrix jacchus).

Yang received his B.S. with honors and M.S. from the College of Food Science and Engineering at Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University (A&F), in Shaanxi, China. There, he studied various bacteria in food, including contamination by Escherichia coli.

Qinnang Yang jumps in the air from a grass field, stretching his arm out and smiling

At the Martens lab, Yang will pursue his research on the interaction between diet and gut microbes in the context of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using gnotobiotic mice, metagenomic and metabolomics. He will continue his research on the mechanisms by which gut microbes utilize different nutrients in the human gut. He will also seek collaboration on using machine learning approaches for personalized pre/probiotic supplementation studies.  

In his spare time, Yang enjoys cycling, traveling, and driving a stick shift car!


Eric Martens lab

Photo: Jumping out of the Covid lockdown, on a grass land near Mount Rushmore in the summer of 2020.