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Building Better Probiotics: Allie Briner Crawley

Allie Crawley, Ph.D. student and CRISPR researcher

Allie Briner Crawley

Ph.D. student, Functional Genomics

Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences

When Allie Briner Crawley started at NC State, she had never heard of CRISPR. But the revolutionary cut-and-paste gene editing system quickly became her passion.

She studies CRISPR-Cas systems in lactic acid bacteria, with the ultimate goal of creating better probiotics that improve gut health in new ways.

At the same time, she takes bacterial immune systems and, using CRISPR processes, essentially turns them on themselves to create genetic engineering tools in bacteria. This could lead to the development of gene therapies that eliminate human disease.

“I didn’t realize when I started grad school that my work was going to have an impact … I had no idea I’d be able to do research that people would cite and use to spin off their own research. That’s been really neat.”