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 at rachel.j.dutton@gmail.com. We are especially interested in people with backgrounds in microbial genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics!  


Watch the Dutton Lab video abstract from our recent Cell paper!

On the cover: Diverse bacteria and fungi colonize the surface of cheese during the aging process, forming multispecies communities known as the rind. Wolfe et al. (pp. 422–433) take an in situ to in vitro approach and reveal patterns of diversity and temporal dynamics in cheese rind community formation. Communities reconstructed under laboratory conditions were used to test the role of environmental manipulation on community composition and to uncover widespread and previously unknown bacterial-fungal interactions. This diverse, yet tractable, system may allow for a better understanding of the principles and mechanisms driving microbial community formation. Cover image by Kevin Bonham, Rachel Dutton, John Kauffman, and Benjamin Wolfe.

Find many other videos from the lab, including seminars that we've given and movies of mites and molds, under the Videos section.