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Rodolphe Barrangou Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Photo of Rodolphe Barrangou with graduate student Matthew Nethery in the lab.
Rodolphe Barrangou, left alongside graduate student Matthew Nethery, adds another prestigious honor with his election to the National Academy of Engineering. Photo courtesy of Marc Hall, NC State University.

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 Engineering (NAE), one of the world’s most important and influential scientific societies.

Barrangou becomes the 18th current NC State faculty member to be elected into the august society of engineers. He is one of 86 new members and 18 foreign members elected this year. He will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2019.

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-Cas 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 and livestock breeding.

While working at Danisco, a food ingredients company now owned by 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 attacks by viruses.

Barrangou has received numerous prestigious honors for his work on CRISPR systems. He was elected into the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and received the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences in 2018. He has also received 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 150 peer-reviewed publications and is credited with more than 50 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 and an advisor to Inari.

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 functional genomics from NC State; and a MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The National Academy of Engineering is an honorific society of distinguished engineers. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.” The Academy comprises approximately 2,297 members and 272 foreign members.

NC State also has nine current members of the National Academy of Sciences and one current member of the National Academy of Medicine.

– kulikowski –