For Immediate Release
Rodolphe Barrangou, Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research and professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences at North Carolina State University, has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the world’s most important and influential scientific societies.
Barrangou becomes the ninth current NC State faculty member to be elected into the august scientific society. He is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected this year.
Barrangou focuses on understanding the genetic basis for health-promoting and fermentative properties of beneficial bacteria used in foods. A pioneer in the discovery of the adaptive bacterial immune system known as CRISPR, Barrangou has shown that CRISPR systems defend bacteria against unwanted invaders such as phages. Barrangou is mostly concerned with CRISPR-Cas systems that use Cas proteins as scalpels to cleave away foreign DNA. Possible applications include genome editing, antibacterial and antimicrobial production, food safety, food fermentation and plant breeding.
While working at Danisco, a food ingredients company now affiliated with DuPont, Barrangou and colleagues published a seminal CRISPR paper in the journal Science in 2007. That paper showed that CRISPR is an adaptive immune system that can acquire genetic snapshots of bacterial virus attacks.
Barrangou has received numerous prestigious honors for his work on CRISPR systems. He received the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences earlier this year, the NAS Award in Molecular Biology in 2017, the 2016 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize and the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Prize.
Barrangou is the editor-in-chief of The CRISPR Journal, a peer-reviewed publication that brings together researchers and practitioners in a wide range of disciplines, including genetics and genomics, cell biology, immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, plant biology, ethics and law.
He has authored or co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and is credited with more than 40 issued and pending patents.
Barrangou joined the NC State faculty in 2013. He received the 2014 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award and the 2015 NC State Faculty Scholars Award. He has been on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list since 2014. Barrangou is a co-founder of both Intellia Therapeutics and Locus Biosciences.
Barrangou earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the Rene Descartes University in Paris, France; a master’s degree in biological engineering from the University of Technology in Compiegne, France; a master’s degree in food science and a Ph.D. in genomics from NC State; and a MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The National Academy of Sciences is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Academy membership is composed of approximately 2,380 members and 480 foreign associates.
NC State also has 17 current members of the National Academy of Engineering and one current member of the National Academy of Medicine.
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