UCSD professor of cheese microbe cultures

Fascinating interview on Science Friday with UCSD Professor Dutton on cheese. Very healthy and I like it, especially moldy green roquefort blue cheese cheddars brie gouda. Natto may be healther and the best source of Vitamin K2 for strong bones. Move to Green Bay Wisconsin Great Lakes and work in the industry for best access to the best cheese from the happiest holy cows.


Microbial communities play transformative roles in everything from Earth’s geochemical cycles to the human body. However, the complexity and difficulty in manipulating microbial communities makes understanding the mechanisms involved in community formation incredibly challenging. One approach to understanding the basic principles of community formation is to use simplified model communities, in much the same way as model organisms such as E. coli have been used to elucidate basic principles of cellular metabolism, genetics, and biochemistry.

Our lab has focused on the use of microbial communities from cheese as models due to their simplicity, culturability, and experimental tractability. These communities show reproducible and dynamic patterns of community formation which depend on widespread interactions between species. We are now developing genetic, cell biological, and chemical approaches to studying species interactions in this model microbial community. As with any model system, our goal is to gain insight into the workings of more complex systems.

• Wolfe BE and Dutton RJ. Fermented Foods as Experimentally Tractable Microbial Ecosystems. Cell. Mar 26;161(1):49-55. (2015)

• Wolfe BE, Button JE, Santarelli M, Dutton RJ. Cheese rind communities provide tractable systems for in situ and in vitro studies of microbial diversity. Cell. July 17;158,422-33. (2014)

• David LA, Maurice CF, Gootenberg DB, Button JE, Ling A, Biddinger SB, Dutton RJ, Turnbaugh PJ. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. Jan 23;505(7484):559-63 (2014).

• Button JE and Dutton RJ. Quick Guide to Cheese Microbes.Current Biology. Aug 7; 22(15):587-9. (2012)

• Wolfe BE, Dutton RJ. Towards an ecosystems approach to cheese microbiology. Cheese and Microbes. ASM Press and Microbiology Spectrum(2014)

Welcome to the Dutton Lab! The goal of our research is to identify mechanisms and principles of microbial community formation, using cheese as a model system. We combine microbial ecology-based approaches to study patterns in natural communities, and then test hypotheses in the lab with in vitro models of community formation. We are located in Harvard’s FAS Center for Systems Biology.

BIG NEWS!!! In September 2015, the lab will move to UCSD!!! We are recruiting grad students, postdocs, and technicians. If you are a creative, motivated scientist interested in the study of microbial communities and species interactions, please contact Rachel.We are especially interested in people with backgrounds in microbial genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics!


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