Humans have been using microbes to make fermented foods such as cheese, miso, and beer for thousands of years. Benjamin Wolfe, Asst. Professor of Microbiology at Tufts University, will discuss how these traditional foods are now serving a new purpose - as model ecosystems for microbiologists. From microbial war and peace on Camembert to the funk in your homemade kimchi, learn how some of your favorite foods are changing our understanding of the microbial world.
(Photo: "Blue Stilton Quarter Front" by Dominik Hundhammer, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
BIO: Benjamin Wolfe
uses food microbial communities to address fundamental questions in microbial ecology and evolution. He received his B.Sc. from Cornell University in 2003 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010. He developed an interest in food microbial communities as a post-doc with Rachel Dutton at Harvard's FAS Center for Systems Biology. Benjamin is a passionate promoter of microbial literacy through teaching and writing. He has taught food microbiology courses at the Harvard Summer School and Boston University's Gastronomy Program and has taught classes or workshops at Formaggio Kitchen, the San Francisco Cheese School, and for artisan food guilds across the country. Benjamin is a regular contributor to the food magazine Lucky Peach and writes an online series about the biology of food for Boston magazine. He is a co-founder of MicrobialFoods.org, a website that digests the science of fermented foods.