Dr. Erin McKenney gives an eye-opening talk about the latest results from the Citizens Science Sourdough Project, which seeks to understand the biology underlying the differences among starters and the changes (or lack of change) in starters through time. Erin and her team collected hundreds of starter samples from around the world and analyzed them to learn which yeasts and bacteria dominated the microbiomes. You can learn more about the results of the study at robdunnlab.com/projects/sourdough.

Dr. Erin McKenney studies how microbial communities form over time and how they adapt to their environments. Over the past 8 years she has collected fecal samples from over 140 animals belonging to 15 species housed at 4 different zoos, to investigate the effects of host diet and lineage. More recently, she has expanded her research to sourdough and other fermented foods. Microbial cultures lie at the heart of human cultures, and fermented foods provide accessible systems for studying microbiology and nutrition without formal laboratory equipment. By combining citizen science and global collaborations, Erin brings research into the classroom to empower students of all ages.

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