Episode Summary

Cheese is delicious, and also the product of a complex mixture of microbes.  

Different communities of microbes produce the wide variety of cheeses made around the world. Dr. Rachel Dutton is an Assistant Professor at the University of California San Diego who studies cheese microbiomes.  

Dr. Dutton talks about how cheese is made, how the cheese microbiome is a great model for understanding how microbes interact with each other, how the microbial community determines what type of cheese is made, how her experience working on a cheese farm influenced her research, how the long history of cheesemaking practices gives great insight into microbial interactions, where the holes in Swiss cheese come from, and how studying the cheese microbiome has the added benefit of being able to eat your experiments.  

microTalk was pleased to be joined by Dr. Jimmy Ballard (University of Oklahoma Health Science Center) when this podcast was recorded at the ASM Microbe 2019 conference in San Francisco, CA.

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Houser Sampson, whose voracious appetite for sushi causes him to come down with a mysterious illness.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Rachel Dutton, Ph.D. (University of California San Diego)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Mylea Echazarreta (UTSA)
  • Jimmy Ballard (OUHSC)

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