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Klaenhammer Wins O. Max Gardner Award

Dr. Todd R. Klaenhammer, Distinguished University Professor of Food Science, Microbiology and Genetics at NC State, received the O. Max Gardner Award – the most significant universitywide honor given to faculty by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The award is presented each year to one faculty member from the system’s 17 campuses recognized as having “made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” Klaenhammer is the ninth NC State faculty member to win the O. Max Gardner Award in the past 14 years.

An elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Klaenhammer studies genetic approaches to improving lactic acid bacteria, the “good” bacteria used as starter cultures and probiotics in fermented food and dairy products, like yogurt. Recently, he investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for the survival and activity of probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and used that information to develop live bacterial delivery systems for oral vaccines.

Klaenhammer directs the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, which develops and applies new technologies for processing dairy products and ingredients with improved health and safety qualities.

Among other awards and honors, Klaenhammer is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Dairy Science Association. He received the Nicolas Appert Award from the Institute of Food Technology in 2007; the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest award given to NC State faculty by the university, also in 2007; and the William C. Haines Dairy Research Science Award in 2006.

A native of Minnesota, Klaenhammer joined the NC State faculty in 1978. He was named William Neal Reynolds Professor in 1992, Alumni Distinguished Professor in 1993 and Distinguished University Professor in 2002.