People


Faculty

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Rodolphe Barrangou

Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research

Hometown:  Paris, France

Past Education:  BS Biological Sciences, Rene Descartes University, Paris, France; MS Biological Engineering, University of Technology in Compiegne, France; MS Food Science, NC State University; PhD Functional Genomics, NC State University; MBA, Executive Business Administration, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rodolphe has worked on beneficial microbes, focusing on the occurrence and diversity of lactic acid bacteria in fermented foods and as probiotics. Using functional genomics, he has focused on uncovering the genetic basis for health-promoting traits, including the ability to uptake and catabolize non-digestible carbohydrates. He spent 9 years at Danisco-DuPont, characterizing probiotics and starter cultures, and established the functional role of CRISPR-Cas, as adaptive immune systems in bacteria. He has focused on establishing the molecular basis for their mechanism of action, as well as developing and applying CRISPR-based technologies for genotyping, building immunity and genome editing.

Staff

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Rosemary Sanozky-Dawes

Hometown:  Bronx, NY

Past Education:  BS Biology, City College of NY;  MS Microbiology  University of Tennessee

Rosemary’s background includes teaching biology, microbiology, microbial physiology, with experience in clinical microbiology; research on Pseudomonas physiology, vegetable fermentation microbiology, dairy bacteriophages, protein biochemistry and cell culture. Her current research includes: isolation, identification and characterization of probiotic strains. She screens for beneficial probiotic properties which involves metabolite and antimicrobial bacteriocin assays, studying microbe interaction with mammalian cell culture enterocytes, testing for immunomodulation potential and identifying phenotypes and genotypes for persistence in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as characterizing native CRISPR systems in lactobacilli.

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Sarah O’Flaherty

Hometown:  Wicklow, Ireland

Past Education:  BA (Mod) Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin Ireland; PhD Microbiology National University of Ireland, University College Cork, Ireland

Sarah’s graduate research concerned the study of bacteriophage and lysins as potential anti-microbial agents against Staphylococcus aureus. Sarah moved to the United States from Ireland after obtaining her Ph.D and joined the laboratory of Dr. Todd R. Klaenhammer as a postdoctoral research associate where she researched functional genomics of lactic acid bacteria and probiotic-host interactions. Currently as a senior research scientist, she continues research on functional genomics, probiotic-host interactions, developing the murine research platform, and is the lead scientist for the vaccine program which focuses on mucosal vaccine delivery systems using lactic acid bacteria.  Her research also involves methods to improve on existing genetic systems and to identify new antigen and therapeutic targets. Sarah provides research assistance and supervision to staff, postdoctoral researchers and graduate and international visiting students across various research topics.

 

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Matthew Foley

Hometown:  Buffalo, New York

Past Education: Microbiology & Immunology BS, University of Rochester; Microbiology & Immunology PhD, University of Michigan

After his PhD, Matthew worked as a postdoctoral fellow studying Clostridium sp. and bile salt hydrolases. He joined the Barrangou Lab in 2021 as a staff scientist. Matthew is interested in understanding how CRISPR-Cas can be used to promote bacterial engraftment and ameliorate disease, and how bile acid altering enzymes can be used to manipulate the bile acid pool, microbiota, and host physiology. Outside of the lab he loves cooking and weightlifting.

Graduate Students

 

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Meichen Pan (Echo)

Hometown:  Qingdao, China

Past Education:  BS Food Science, University of Wisconsin- Madison; MS Food Science, North Carolina State University

Echo conducted undergraduate research at University of Wisconsin – Madison on probiotic efficacy in human health. She recently joined the CRISPR lab in fall 2017 to study LAB related to vaginal health and CRISPR application on improving probiotic efficacy. She is interested in the food industry and had two internships with Sargento and J.M. Smucker. She is hoping to utilize her skills and knowledge to produce better probiotic products to benefit human health in the future.

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Avery Roberts

Hometown: Durham, North Carolina

Past Education: BS Genetics, North Carolina State University

Avery completed a Bachelor’s in Genetics with a minor in Biotechnology at North Carolina State University. As an undergraduate, he conducted research on developing a transient CRISPR-Cas9 expression system for genome editing in cassava. He then transitioned to industry and worked as a scientist generating cell-based assays for compound toxicity testing. Avery joined the CRISPR Lab in March, 2019, and his research currently involves exploring CRISPR system functionality within Lactobacillus.

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Kalani Gast

Hometown:  Fort Pierce, FL

Past Education:  BS Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida

Kalani completed a Bachelor’s in Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, she studied the effect of the herbicide Paraquat on the gut microbiome in Drosophila melanogaster. She transitioned into industry by working as a microbiologist screening foods for pathogens that cause food-borne illness. Kalani joined the lab in July 2021, and is currently interested in probiotic bacteria, CRISPR-Cas systems, bacteriophage, and the gut microbiome.

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Ourania (Rania) Raftopoulou

Hometown: Athens, Greece

Past Education: BSc in Crop Science & MSc in Food Science, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece

Rania completed her Bachelor’s in Crop Science at the Agricultural University of Athens in Greece. As an undergraduate, her research focused on the identification of endemic epiphytic yeasts from pistachio nuts that could be applied as biological agents for the control of aflatoxins. Afterward, she completed her MSc in Food Science at the same university in Greece. Her Master’s was focused on two main objectives: a) creating machine learning models for the estimation of chicken spoilage through multispectral imaging and, b) evaluating the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in chicken nuggets using mathematical models. Rania started her Ph.D. in Microbiology in 2019 and worked for three years on assessing the impact of the biofilm lifestyle on the virulence of Listeria monocytogenes and its behavior on apples. She joined our lab in April 2022 and is currently working on bioengineering probiotic bacteria using CRISPR.

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John Beckley

Hometown: Congers, NY

Past Education: BS Biochemistry Boston College; MS Microbiology Illinois Institute of Technology

John completed his Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at Boston College and spent over 10 years in the food and beverage industry before transitioning back to academia for his Master’s in Microbiology at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Working as a food safety consultant, he provided scientific and regulatory support for the industry in the US and abroad.  John joined the lab in August 2022 and is currently interested in developing CRISPR technology, engineering bacteriophages, and studying the gut and soil microbiomes.

Undergraduate Students

Kendall Malmstrom

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Kendall is working to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry. She joined the lab in December 2021 as a student lab helper.

Daniel Spang

Hometown: Asheville, NC

Daniel is studying Biomolecular Engineering. He is working with the CRISPR lab to make the protocols more up-to-date and materials easier to obtain.

Former Lab Members

Name Dates in Lab Position in Lab Employer Position
Katheryne Daughtry 2014-2015 MS Food Science Silesia Flavors R&D Scientist
Brant Johnson 2012-2016 PhD Microbiology Novozymes Scientist
Kurt Selle 2013-2016 PhD Functional Genomics Locus Biosciences, Inc  Scientist
Jeff Hymes 2014-2016 MS Food Science Symberix Associate Scientist II
Joakim Andersen 2014-2016 Post-Doc SysBio Post-Doc
Mia Theilmann 2015-2016 Visiting Student University of Denmark PhD Student
Emily Henriksen 2013-2016 Research Specialist
Emily Stout 2014-2016 MS Food Science Glanbia Cheese Scientist I
Cassandra Cañez 2016-2018 MS Functional Genomics Merck Research Laboratories- Cambridge ESC Scientist
Allie Crawley
2013-2018 MS Food Science
PhD Functional Genomics
AgBiome Scientist
Regan Lane
2017-2018 Undergraduate Assistant FastMed Urgent Care Clinical Assistant
Stefanie Andersen 2018-2019 PhD Bioinformatics
Allie Fulp 2018-2019 MS Food Science
Katelyn Brandt 2015-2019 PhD Functional Genomics BASF
Courtney Klotz 2015-2019 PhD Functional Genomics Sanofi Genzyme Senior Manager Dupilumab Publications
Elice Kitchen-McKinley 2018-2019 BS Bioprocessing Sciences
Natalia Cobián Fernández 2019-2020 Staff Scientist
Claudio Hidalgo Cantabrana 2016-2020 Post-Doc MicroViable Therapeutics CSO-CEO
Yong Jun Goh 2005-2021 Staff Scientist AgBiome Senior Microbiologist
MaryClaire Chamberlain 2019-2021 MS Food Science McCormick Scientist I
Victoria Bartlett 2019-2021 BS Genetics Graduate School
Matt Nethery 2016-2022 PhD Functional Genomics Life Edit Data Scientist II