Jens Walter

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Jens Walter

Associate Professor and Campus Alberta Innovation Program (CAIP) Chair for Nutrition, Microbes and Gastrointestinal Health Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science/Department of Biological Sciences. University of Alberta 4-126A Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation and 7-142 Katz Group Center, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E1.

Education History:
Diploma: 1999 University of Hohenheim, Germany Food Technology
Doctorate: 2003 University of Hohenheim, Germany Microbiology

Employment Record:
March 2014-now: Associate Professor and CAIP Chair for Nutrition, Microbes, and Gastrointestinal Health, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science/Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada.
July 2012-February 2014: Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, USA.
Sept. 2006-June 2012: Assistant Professor at the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, USA.
August 2004-Sept. 2006: Research Fellow at University of Otago, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dunedin, New Zealand in the laboratory of Prof. Gerald. W. Tannock.
May-July 2004: Postdoctoral Fellow at University of North Carolina, Department of Medicine, Chapel Hill, USA in the laboratory of Prof. R. Balfour Sartor.
March 2003-April 2004: Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Otago, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Dunedin, New Zealand in the laboratory of Prof. Gerald W. Tannock.

Originally a graduate of the University of Hohenheim, Germany, Dr. Walter has trained in high profile and productive research laboratories in Germany (under Walter P. Hammes), New Zealand (under Gerald W. Tannock), the United States (under R. Balfour Sartor) before joining his first academic position in the US at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Walter is currently in Canada, where he is now Chair of the prestigious Campus Alberta Innovation Program (CAIP) for Nutrition, Microbes and Gastrointestinal Health. Professor Walter’s expertise lies at the interface of evolutionary ecology of the gut microbiome and human nutrition. He is especially interested in the evolutionary and ecological processes that have shaped the host-microbiome interrelationship and the translation of basic microbiome science area into therapeutic and nutritional strategies. He has pioneered the application of ecological concepts to explain characteristics of the mammalian microbiome (inter-individual variation, differences in non-western and industrialized populations). His team was also first to establish that stable persistence (or ‘engraftment’) of an administered bacterium can be achieved in adult humans in a strain-dependent manner, and that this is dependent on the pre-treatment gut ecology. He was also first to apply next-generation sequencing in the characterising the effect of whole grains and dietary fibre on the human microbiome, and to lay the mechanistic foundation of host-specificity in a bacterial symbiont of vertebrates.

Professor Walter’s record in producing high-quality, high-impact research is evident with over 100 peer-reviewed publications (senior authorship on 35), including publications in Cell Reports (Impact Factor, IPF 8.3), ISME Journal (IPF 9.6), Cell Host & Microbe (IPF 17.9), eLife (IPF 7.7), and Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol (IPF 13.7), with an h-index of 48 and over 10,000 citations (Google scholar). He has written provocative science commentaries, many of which have inter alia challenged current paradigms in the field, such as the definition of prebiotics and the use of ‘human microbiota-associated mice’ to establish the mechanistic role of the microbiome in disease as well as making major contributions to the “sterile foetus” debate. As a key opinion leader, Professor Walter has participated at several invitation-only workshops of the NIH, CIFAR (https://www.cifar.ca/) and ILSI, addressing important challenges in nutrition and microbiome science. His work has also been featured on several journal covers (Cell Reports, Cell Host and Microbe), in hundreds of news outlets worldwide, and on seven occasions in the research highlights and commentaries of Nature, Nature Reviews Journals, and Cell Host and Microbe.

Contact details: E-mail: jwalter1@ualberta.ca