Dr. Robert (Rob) Gruninger is currently a research scientist with his own laboratory at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. The Lethbridge research centre is one the largest facilities that form part of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada.
Rob was born and raised in Lethbridge Alberta, which is a small city in Southern Alberta in the heart of cattle country. Lethbridge is also just a 30 min drive from the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Rob attended the University of Lethbridge, graduating with a BSc in biochemistry (2004) and a PhD in biochemistry with a specialization in enzymology and structural biology (2009). After a post-doctoral position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver BC (2009-2012), he went back to Lethbridge and has been working there in various roles for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada since 2012.
At Lethbridge, Rob’s research uses a combination of animal science, “-omics” techniques, and protein biochemistry to:
- understand host-microbiome interactions,
- understand the influence of diet and diet additives on rumen microbial ecology,
- characterize carbohydrate metabolism in pure cultures of rumen microbes,
- explore the influence of the rumen microbiome on feed efficiency, animal health and enteric methane emissions.
Rob began his work on rumen fungi by examining carbohydrate metabolism in several anaerobic fungal genera. This involved the characterization of the diversity of carbohydrate active enzymes that are expressed by anaerobic fungi. Using his expertise in protein crystallography, Rob has also examined the structure/function relationship of several Carbohydrate Esterases expressed by anaerobic fungi.
Ultimately, the goal of Rob’s research into anaerobic fungi is to better understand the biological role of these fascinating microbes in the rumen.