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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.


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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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Yong Jun Goh

Hometown:  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Past Education:  BS Food Science & Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; PhD Food Science & Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jun is a Senior Scientist in the group and provides leadership to the functional genomics program, with core responsibilities in study design, the development of murine study platform, genetic tools and phenotypic assays, managing prebiotic research, and graduate student mentorship.  Jun's research focuses on gene function discovery in probiotic microbes that contributes to their host fitness and immunomodulatory activities in the gut epithelium.  Her interests include in vivo transcriptome studies of probiotic lactobacilli, the functions of S-layers and cell surface components on gut retention and immunomodulation, molecular mechanism of prebiotic oligosaccharides utilization by gut microbes, and she recently discovered the link between glycogen biosynthesis and in vivo gut competitiveness.  With her previous experience in establishing a upp-based counterselective gene replacement system for L. acidophilus, Jun is presently working on developing a CRISPR-Cas9 based tool for programmable genome editing 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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Natalia Cobián Fernández

Hometown: Gijón, Asturias, Spain

Past Education: BS Biology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain. MS Food Biotechnology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.

Natalia is a Staff Scientist in the group and her background includes microbiology and molecular biology skills. She spent 7 years working in the industry developing new technologies for the detection of food and water microbiological contaminants in real time to prevent infectious outbreaks. Natalia is currently working in CRISPR and microbiology, leading the collaboration with our stakeholders to establish new methods to deliver CRISPR tools to enhance probiotic bacteria, and also characterizing probiotic and prebiotic properties. Natalia provides research supervision and mentoring to graduate and undergraduate students in different areas of expertise.


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Claudio Hidalgo Cantabrana

Hometown:  Oviedo, Spain

Past Education:  BS Biology, University of Oviedo; MS Food Biotechnology, University of Oviedo: PhD Microbiology ,University of Oviedo

Claudio has worked on functional and genetic characterization of exopolysaccharide production by several bifidobacteria strains. During his PhD he studied the gene clusters involved in EPS production in Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, developing knockouts, studying the chemical composition of EPS and performing in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo assays to probe the immune modulation capability of bifidobacteria and EPS. Now a days, he is working at NCSU as a post-doctoral researcher in Barrangou’s lab focused on CRISPR and probiotics to develop new applications of CRISPR regarding probiotic genome enhancement, vaccine delivery and antimicrobials in new probiotics species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Claudio provides research assistance to graduate students in probiotics and genetics areas.


Graduate Students

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Matthew Nethery

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Past Education:  BS Computer Information Systems, Appalachian State University

Matthew completed a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems from Appalachian State University. He spent many years as a software engineer in the healthcare industy before deciding to apply his background to the field of genomics. Matt is currently using bioinformatics, functional genomics, and molecular biology to create solutions for genomic problems. His research interests include CRISPR-Cas systems, genome assembly, phage genomics, and infectious disease.


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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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Camry Wagner

Hometown: Concord, NC

Past Education: University of North Carolina - Wilmington B.S. Biology / University of Florida M.S. Microbiology and Cell Science Concentration Medical Microbiology and Biochemistry

Camry completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Cell Science with a concentration in Medical Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Florida. She spent 5 years working as a quality control analyst for several major pharmaceutical companies before transitioning to a CRISPR based R&D role focusing on neurodegenerative diseases. Camry joined the lab in August 2020 where she plans to apply her industry and microbiology experience in the area of functional genomics. Her research interests include CRISPR-Cas systems, epigenetics, the gut microbiome, and nutrition.

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MaryClaire Chamberlain

Hometown:  Ann Arbor, MI

Past Education:  BS Food Science, Purdue University

MaryClaire completed her Bachelor's in Food Science with a minor in Fermentation Science at Purdue University. She researched the effects of sugars and sugar alcohols on the gelatinization temperature of various botanical starches. MaryClaire joined the CRISPR Lab in August, 2019.

Undergraduate Students

Victoria Bartlett

Hometown: Mooresville, NC

Victoria is about to complete her Bachelor's Degree in Genetics with a minor in Psychology. She joined the lab in May 2019. Since joining the lab, she has worked on a genome announcement and SNP identification for commercially sold bacteria. In the future Victoria hopes to attain her Master's in Genetic Counseling.

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