Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou, NC State associate professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences and the Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research, received the Canada Gairdner International Award in an Oct. 27 ceremony in Toronto.
The Canada Gairdner Awards are given to biomedical scientists who have made original contributions to medicine resulting in increased understanding of human biology and disease. Of the more than 320 recipients, 83 have subsequently won the Nobel Prize in medicine.
Barrangou is one of seven researchers who received 2016 Canada Gairdner Awards. He and Philippe Horvath of DuPont received the Canada Gairdner International Award “for establishing and characterizing CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune defense system.” The award includes a $100,000 (Canadian) cash prize.
“Dr. Barrangou is a trailblazer and one of the world’s preeminent scientists in his field,” said Dr. Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This tremendous achievement spotlights an individual whose research will continue to have an extraordinary impact on human health.”
Barrangou’s CRISPR lab focuses on the evolution and functions of CRISPR-Cas systems and their applications in bacteria used in food manufacturing. The primary objective is to harness lactic acid bacteria as probiotics to develop health-promoting foods.
“Dr. Barrangou is an exceptional scientist who stands on the shoulders of other stellar NC State food microbiologists, like Drs. Marvin Speck and Todd Klaenhammer,” said Dr. Christopher Daubert, head of the NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. “He and his CRISPR team are creating knowledge that will transform the globe … in our lifetimes.”
Barrangou is also an associate member of the NC State microbiology graduate program, the biotechnology graduate program, the functional genomics graduate program, and the Comparative Medicine Institute.