Rodolphe Barrangou

North Carolina State University

Election Year: 2018
Primary Section: 26, Genetics
Secondary Section: 62, Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
Membership Type: Member


Rodolphe Barrangou is a microbiologist recognized for his work on food bacteria and their roles and uses as starter cultures and probiotics. He is known particularly for establishing CRISPR as the bacterial adaptive immune system which provides resistance against bacteriophages, the characterization of the CRISPR-Cas system mechanism of action, and their use in various food applications. Barrangou was born in France, grew up in Paris, and emigrated to the US in 1998 to pursue a MS and then a PhD at NC State University. He worked in the industry for nearly a decade before returning to academia, and has also been involved in several start-up companies commercializing various applications and products based on CRISPR technologies. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Our laboratory focuses on the biology and genetics of CRISPR-Cas immune systems in bacteria. Using microbiology, molecular biology and genomics approaches, we investigate the use of CRISPR-Cas systems for bacterial genotyping (to track food pathogens, spoilage organisms and industrial cultures), to build up phage resistance in dairy starter cultures, for genome editing of probiotics, and as sequence-specific antimicrobials targeting bacteria responsible for infectious disease. The focus is primarily on bacteria widely used in food, agriculture, health and biotechnological applications. Specific attention is given to understanding the molecular basis for health-promotion by beneficial lactic acid bacteria and developing next-generation probiotics that colonize the human gastro-intestinal tract, provide enhanced digestion, and interact with the gut epithelium and immune system.

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