Catherine Donnelly - PhD, University of Vermont; Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Dr. Donnelly, an expert on the microbiological safety of food, believes that requiring cheesemakers to use pasteurized milk is not the best way to produce safe (and tasty) cheeses; it is better to educate cheesemakers about how to ensure the safety of their raw-milk products. Catherine was formerly the co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese which provided educational opportunities and scientific/commercial advice to small-scale cheesemakers. Prof. Donnelly is a recognized international expert on the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and has published numerous articles and delivered hundreds of presentations on the topic.
Heather Paxson - PhD, Massachussetts Institute of Technology; Department of Anthropology
Dr. Paxson is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology and Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, where she serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Program in History, Anthropology & Science, Technology, and Society. She has researched the production of artisanal cheese in the United States for a decade, with particular interest in understanding how craftwork has become a new source of cultural and economic value within American landscapes of production and consumption. In addition, her work culturally contextualizes regulatory concerns over safety, "quallity" and percieved risk. She is the author of The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America (University of California Press, 2013) as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles on diverse topics related to anthropology and artisanal cheese. She is currently working on the Editorial Board of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese.
Rachel Dutton - PhD, UC San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences.
Dr. Dutton earned her PhD in Microbiology from Harvard Medical School in 2010 and received a Bauer Fellowship to start her own lab at the Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University. She is now an Assistant Professor at the Division of Biological Sciences.
Dr. Dutton uses cheese as a way to understand microbial ecosystems and notes "Cheese is home to a fascinating assortment of microbes; from bacteria, yeasts and molds, to microscopic mites. These microbes all play an important role in making cheese a delicious and diverse food, and could shed light on the complex microbial communities that impact human health." Her lab studies cheeses from around the world, and looks at how cheese microbes interact with each other to form communities. In addition, her lab collaborates with chefs (David Chang and Dan Felder, Momofuku) and cheesemakers (Jasper Hill Farm and the Cellars at Jasper Hill, VT) to develop fermented foods using native microbes. Her research has been featured in Wired Magazine, Lucky Peach Magazine, the Boston Globe, Edible Boston, the New York Times and on NPR and The Mind of a Chef TV series.
Dennis D'Amico - PhD, University of Connecticut; Department of Animal Science
Dr. D’Amico’s research focuses on the safety and quality of cheese. For more than a decade he has worked extensively with small to very-small producers on product development, process control, environmental monitoring, and the development and implementation of food safety management systems. Dennis's current research projects seek to identify natural interventions and preventative controls for traditional dairy foods and the validation of traditional processes. Dennis is board member of the American Cheese Society and the International Association of Food Protection. His research has been widely published in peer-reviewed academic journals and in 2013 Dennis recieved an award from the Innovation Center for US Dairy in recognition for Outstanding Leadership, Collaboration, and Education for his work on the US Dairy Food Safety Initiative.