Dennis J. D'Amico

Assistant Professor


   Phone: (860)486-0567


   Office: ABL Room 302B

   Lab: ABL Room 315

   Lab Phone: (860)486-6586



Dr. D'Amico's Lab



  • Ph.D. (Food Microbiology), University of Vermont, 2008
  • MS (Food Microbiology/Technology), University of Vermont, 2004
  • BS (Nutrition and Food Sciences), Cum Laude, University of Vermont, 2002


  • 2013-present: Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut, Dept. of Animal Science
  • 2008-2013: Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer, University of Vermont, Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese


Area of Interest

My primary research and outreach efforts focus on improving the safety and quality of cheese. For more than a decade I have 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. I develop, support and deliver workshops to provide dairy manufacturers and professionals with technical and scientific knowledge necessary to assure the consistent production and sale of safe, high quality cheese and dairy products. My research examines the presence, ecology, and diversity of Listeria spp. in small to very-small dairy processing facilities, the prevalence of pathogenic bacteria in raw milk destined for cheesemaking and microbial behavior during the manufacture and aging of various cheese varieties. Current projects seek to identify natural interventions and preventive controls for traditional dairy foods and the validation of traditional processes.

Classes Taught

ANSC 3641            Animal Food Products: Dairy Technology

ANSC 3642W        Scientific Writing in Animal Food Products: Dairy Technology

Academic Honors & Awards

  • 2016. Above and Beyond Award. American Cheese Society.
  • 2016. Young Scientist Award- Educator. American Society for Animal Science/American Dairy Science Association. Northeast Section.
  • 2013. Outstanding Leadership, Collaboration, and Education, Outreach/Public Engagement, Innovation center for US Dairy.
  • 2011. University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences New Achiever Alumni Award
  • 2006. Developing Scientist Award. International Association of Food Protection
  • 2004. Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture
  • 2002. Ruben and Rose Mattus Scholarship for undergraduate research

Active Grants

  • Efficacy of Protective Cultures to Control Listeria Monocytogenes in Milk and Cheese, George Walker Milk Research Fund.
  • Equipping small dairy processors with the knowledge and skills necessary to comply with the Food and Drug Administration Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food., N.C. Dairy Foundation, Inc. CO-PI
  • Development and evaluation of a Listeria monitoring and controls virtual reality simulator for small dairy processors., N.C. Dairy Foundation, Inc. CO-PI
  • Enhanced surveillance and control of Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli in dairy processing facilities. George Walker Milk Research Fund.
  • Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Online Food Safety Course for Artisan and Farmstead Cheesemakers. USDA/AMS, National Dairy Council. Role: CO-PI
  • U.S. Artisan and Specialty Cheese Industry Census. American Cheese Education Foundation.
  • Investigating the beneficial role of low-fat cheese and cheese starter cultures in the prevention of inflammatory bowel disease in a mouse colitis model. USDA/NIFA. Role: CO-PI
  • Utilization of GRAS compounds as antimicrobial dip and coating treatments for controlling Listeria monocytogenes on high moisture cheese. USDA/AMS.
  • Technical Assistance and Training for Small Scale Cheese Makers to Enhance the Microbiological Quality and Safety of Artisan Cheeses. USDA/RD.




  • Technical Assistance and Training for Dairy Processors to Enhance Microbiological Quality and Safety
  • “Hygiene and Food Safety for Artisan Cheesemaking.” Full day training workshop. Regional workshops presented across the US.
  • The UConn Today article featuring this workshop can be read here
  • Online food safety for artisan cheese producers course- coming soon.


Professional Memberships & Service

  • American Cheese Society
    • Board of Directors
    • Chair, Regulatory and Academic Committee
  • International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Food Protection
    • IAFP Dairy Professional Development Group
  • Oldways Cheese Coalition
    • Academic Advisory Committee
  • Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
    • Reviewer: Journal of Food Science
    • Nutmeg Section of the Institute of Food Technologists
    • Chair of Scholarship & Awards Committee
  • American Dairy Science Association (ADSA)
    • Reviewer: Journal of Dairy Science
  • American Public Health Association
    • Technical Committee for the 18th edition of Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products
  • Worldwide Traditional Cheese Association (WwTCa)
    • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • Dairy Practices Council (DPC)

Recent Publications

Jordan, K., S. Forsythe, and D.J. D’Amico. Pathogens in Milk and Milk Products. In Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products. 18th ed. Eds Wehr, H.M., J. Kornacki, and E. Ryser. American Public Health Association. In preparation.

Kozak, S.M., K.M. Margison, and D.J. D’Amico. Synergistic antimicrobial combinations inhibit and inactivate Listeria monocytogenes in neutral and acidic broth systems. Journal of Food Protection. In press.

D`Amico, D.J. Artisan cheese food safety forum identifies challenges and opportunities in education and outreach. Food Protection Trends. In press.

D'Amico, D.J., and C.W. Donnelly. 2017. Growth and Survival of Microbial Pathogens in Cheese. In Cheese: Chemistry, Physics & Microbiology. 4th Edition. Academic Press. ISBN: 9780124170124

Trmčić , A., R. Ralyea , L. Meunier-Goddik , C. Donnelly, K. Glass, D. D’Amico, E. Meredith, M. Kehler, N. Tranchina, C. McCue, M. Wiedmann. 2016. Consensus categorization of cheese based on water activity and pH – a rational approach to systemizing cheese diversity. Journal of Dairy Science 100:841–847

Sauders, B.D., and D.J. D’Amico. 2016. Listeria monocytogenes cross-contamination of cheese: risk throughout the food supply chain. Epidemiology and Infection, 144:2693-2697.

D'Amico, D. 2016. Contributions In The Oxford Companion to Cheese: Codex Alimentarious; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization; Hygiene; Salmonella; Standards of Identity; United States Department of Agriculture; and Equivalence. Oxford University Press. New York, NY. ISBN: 9780199330881

D'Amico, Dennis. 2016. Artisan Cheese Food Safety Forum: 2015 Conference Summary. Food Protection Trends. May/June: 226-228.

American Cheese Society. 2017. Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers. Available at:

Microbes Make the Cheese. 2015. Report on an American Academy of Microbiology Colloquium held in Washington, DC, in June 2014. Ed. Jeffrey Fox. American Academy of Microbiology. Washington, DC.

Nyarko, E., D.J. D'Amico, B. Koeritzer, P. Mach, W. Xia and C.W. Donnelly. 2014. Delivery of selective agents via time-delayed release tablets improves recovery of Listeria monocytogenes injured by acid and nitrite. Journal of Food Protection. 77: 772-780.

D`Amico, D.J. M.J. Druart and C.W. Donnelly. 2014. Comparing the Behavior of Multi-Drug Resistant and Pan-susceptible Salmonella During the Production and Aging of a Gouda Cheese Manufactured from Raw Milk.. Journal of Food Protection 77: 903-913.

D'Amico, Dennis. 2014. Microbiological Quality and Safety Issues in Cheesemaking. In Cheese and Microbes (pp. 251–309 (59)). Eds. C. Donnelly. American Society for Microbiology.

D’Amico, Dennis. 2014. Adventitious Microbes Can Affect the Safety and Quality of Cheese. Microbe. 9(3).

D’Amico, Dennis. 2014. Microbiological Quality and Safety Issues in Cheesemaking. Microbiol Spectrum 2(1). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec. CM-0011-2012.

Recent Abstracts and Presentations

Barnes, S. R., N.C. Millán-Borrero, J.C. Carbonella, A.J.P. Micheletti and D.J. D’Amico. Acidification Treatments for The Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Model Cheese Brines. 2017 IAFP Annual Meeting.

Barnes, S. R., S.M. Kozak and D.J. D’Amico. Application of Edible Coatings Formulated with Antimicrobials to Control Listeria monocytogenes on Fresh Cheese. 2017 IAFP Annual Meeting.

Kozak, S.M., Y. Bobak, and D.J. D’Amico. Efficacy of individual and combinatory antimicrobial dip treatments for the control of Listeria monocytogenes as surface contaminants on fresh cheese. 2017 IAFP Annual Meeting.

Barnes, S. R., and D.J. D’Amico. Survival and Growth of Listeria monocytogenes on Queso Fresco Cheese Stored Under Modified Atmospheres. 2016. ADSA/ASAS Joint Annual Meeting. Abstract 15659.

Barnes, S. R., and D.J. D’Amico. 2016. Evaluating the Efficacy of Commercially Produced Protective Cultures for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in Broth, Milk, and High Moisture Cheese. Journal of Food Protection. 79 (suppl.):192.

Kozak, S.M., K.M. Margison, and D.J. D’Amico. Synergistic Antimicrobial Combinations in the Inhibition and Inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes in a Neutral Broth System and Whole Milk. Journal of Food Protection. 79 (suppl.):252.

Kozak, S.M. and D.J. D’Amico. Identification of Synergistic Antimicrobial Combinations to Control Listeria monocytogenes in an Acidified Broth System. American Society for Microbiology Microbe. June 17 - 20, 2016

Heckman, J., J. Kornacki, J. Farber, and T. Beals. Debate: Raw Milk Sales and Consumption – An Amicable Exchange of Experts. Organizers: D’Amico D.J. (moderator), and J. Gurtler. . Journal of Food Protection. 79 (suppl.):24.

D’Amico, D., D. Sommer, O. Cerf, and O. Nsofor. 2014. Pathogenic Lethality Characteristics of Cheese Made from Unpasteurized Milk. Journal of Food Protection. 77 (suppl.):194.

D`Amico, D.J. and C.W. Donnelly. 2014. Microbiological Assessment and Intervention to Mitigate Environmental Contamination and Listeria monocytogenes Risk in Artisan Cheese Facilities. Journal of Food Protection. 77 (suppl.):189-190.

Recent Invited Presentations

Listeria and the dairy processing environment. 2016. Wisconsin Association for Food Protection Fall Workshop and Annual Business Meeting.

Practices and Programs to Ensure the Safety of Artisan Cheese. Presented as part of the ADSA Multidisciplinary and International Leadership Keynote (MILK) Symposium: Marketing milk for entrepreneurial and big business value. 2016 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Society for Animal Science/American Dairy Science Association.

Pathogen Behavior in Cheese Deep Dive session presented at the 2016 annual conference of the American Cheese Society. Des Moines, IA.

The L-word- Listeria Presented at the 2016 annual conference of the American Cheese Society. Des Moines, IA.

Food Safety: A Conversation. Deep Dive session presented at the 2015 annual conference of the American Cheese Society. Providence, RI. August 1, 2015.

Managing Listeria monocytogenes in artisan and farmstead cheese production. Presented at the 2014 annual Science of Artisan Cheese conference. Somerset, UK. August 19, 2014.

Pathogen Control for Cheesemakers Utilizing Unpasteurized Milk. Presented at the 2014 International Association for Food Protection annual meeting. Indianapolis, Indiana. August 6, 2014.

FSMA Updates. Presented at the 2014 annual conference of the American Cheese Society. Sacramento, California. July 31, 2014.

Aging Artisan Cheese on Wood. 2014. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Dairy Regulatory Officials. Kansas City, Missouri. July 15, 2014.

Challenges and Opportunities for the New England Dairy Industry. Presented at the New England Dairy Conference. Vernon, CT. March 10, 2014.

Hobbies/ Non-Academic Interests

With my free time I like to spend time with my family and pets (3 dogs and a rabbit).  I like to cook but love to ferment foods.  In addition to kombucha, cheese, and other dairy products, I am also a competitive homebrewer.

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Department of Animal Science
Unit 4040
3636 Horsebarn Hill Road Ext.
Storrs, CT 06269-4040

George White Building Room 107
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Phone: (860) 486-2413
Fax: (860) 486-4375