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Dr. Michele Culumber


     Environmental Biology, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston IL B.S., 1995
     Environmental Toxicology, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Ph.D., 2002

   Contact Information

     Phone: 801-626-7795
     Office Location: 
     Tracy Hall Science Center (TY)
     Room 450H


Teaching Philosophy & Focus

Microorganisms impact almost every part of our lives and environments. I enjoy sharing the many ways that we interact with microorganisms and hope to capture students' interest and motivate them to become scholars of microbiology. I also hope to encourage students to see how microbiology influences their lives and their careers.

Courses Taught

MICR 2054 - Principles of Microbiology
MICR 3154 - Microbial Ecology
MICR 1153 - Elementary Public Health
MICR 3502 - Environmental Health
MICR 3753 - Geomicrobiology
MICR 4800/4830 - Research/Readings
MICR 4991 - Microbiology Seminar

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Research Areas of Interest

I am interested in studying unique microorganisms in unique environments. I've done research on microbes in contaminated groundwater, Hawaiian soils, Peat Bogs, The Great Salt Lake, and Cheddar cheese.

Specific Projects

Recently we identified, and named, a new organism, Lactobacillus wasatchensis, which causes gas development in aging cheese. This appears to be a widespread problem in the cheese industry. We are looking for the source of this organism in the environment and trying to identify its metabolic pathways and mechanisms to inhibit its growth or ability to produce gas. I support the BUILD Dairy program and mentor research students interested in dairy or food science careers. I am also interested in a project that investigates microorganisms fount in the environment such as soil actinomycetes. Recently, I've enjoyed looking for Tardigrades (water bears).


Culumber, M., McMahon, D.J., Ortakci, F., Montierth, L., Villalba, B., Broadbent, J. and Oberg, C. 2017. Hot topic: Geographical distribution and strain diversity of Lactobacillus wasatchensis isolated from cheese with unwanted gas formation. J. Dairy Sci., 100 (11):8764-8767.

Oberg, C. J., T. S. Oberg, M. C. Culumber, F. Ortakci, J. R. Broadbent and D. J. McMahon. 2016. Lactobacillus wasatchensis sp. nov., a non-starter lactic acid bacteria isolated from aged Cheddar cheese. Int. J. System. Evol. Microbiol. 66:158-164

Referral Websites

American Society for Microbiology
Goats and Soda (NPR blog on Environmental and Global Health)
Science Friday 









Let's Connect!


Advisor & Office Hrs

New Major Advisor
Dr. Matthew Domek
Dr. Michele Culumber

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address

Weber State University
College of Science
1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2506
Ogden, UT 84408-2506

Building Location

Tracy Hall Science Center (TY 450)

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