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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 international collaboration in prebiotic research, and graduate student mentorship.  Jun's research interests focus on gene function discovery in probiotic microbes that contributes to their host fitness and immunomodulatory activities in the gut epithelium.  Her current works include in vivo transcriptome studies of probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus during its gut transit in murine models, the functions of S-layers and cell surface components on gut retention and immunomodulation, molecular mechanism of prebiotic oligosaccharides utilization by intestinal microbes, and she recently discovered the link between glycogen biosynthesis and in vivo gut competitiveness.  Arriving to the group as a Postdoctoral fellow for Dr. Todd Klaenhammer, Jun was previously a graduate assistant in Dr. Robert Hutkins' lab, where she identified a novel prebiotic fructooligosaccharide (FOS) utilization pathway and its regulation in Lactobacillus paracasei, and had served as project leader for the Streptococcus thermophilus LMD-9 genome curation and comparative genomic studies.  


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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.  


Graduate Students

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Alexandra Briner

Hometown:  Atlanta, GA

Past Education:  BS Food Science, University of Georgia; MS Food Science, NC State University

Alexandra started her graduate career at North Carolina State University studying the biology, genetics, and applications CRISPR-Cas systems in lactic acid bacteria. Her Master's work investigated the occurrence of CRISPR systems in over 500 genomes of beneficial and food-relevant organisms and used those systems to investigate new tools that can be used for CRISPR-Cas based typing and genome editing.  She is continuing her doctoral research in the functional genomics of beneficial microbes by using the skills and techniques she started investigating during her Master's.


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Katelyn Brandt

Hometown:  Philadelphia, PA

Past Education:  BS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Katelyn performed undergraduate research at Penn State on the histidine utilization pathway in Pseudomonas. Currently, she is actively investigating CRISPR-Cas systems in lactic acid bacteria using approaches including: functional genomics, bioinformatics, classical microbiology, molecular biology, and phylogenetics.


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Courtney Klotz

Hometown:  Richmond, VA

Past Education:  BS Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech; MS Food Science & Technology, Virginia Tech

Courtney completed her BS and MS at Virginia Tech where she studied the effects of fiber digestibility on the gut microbiome. She later went to industry, spending two years researching animal probiotics for Novozymes. Courtney joined The CRISPR Lab in fall of 2015 and is currently working to characterize novel surface layer proteins on probiotic bacteria.


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Cassandra Cañez

Hometown:  Raleigh, NC

Past Education:  BS Biochemistry, NC State University

Cassandra has a Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry from NC State University. She has several years of relevant experience in industrial biotechnology with internships at BASF Plant science and Monsanto Company as well as former positions held at Syngenta Biotechnology, Precision Biosciences, and Bayer Crop Science. Currently, she is working on a Master's Degree in Functional Genomics. Research includes utilizing CRISPR-Cas system as antimicrobials, using self-targeting endogenous systems in Streptococcus thermophilus. 


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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

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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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.


Undergraduate Students

Regan Lane

Hometown:  Greenville, NC

Regan is a senior undergraduate student at NC State studying Animal Science and Spanish. She has participated in undergraduate research in an ophthalmology lab at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. She is hoping to attend medical school after graduating in May 2018.


Former Lab Members


Dates in Lab

Position in Lab




Katheryne Daughtry


MS Food Science


R&D Scientist

Brant Johnson


PhD Microbiology



Kurt Selle


PhD Functional Genomics

Locus Biosciences, Inc

Jeff Hymes


MS Food Science


Associate Scientist II

Joakim Andersen



Mia Theilmann


Visiting Student

University of Denmark

PhD Student

Emily Henriksen


Research Specialist


Emily Stout


MS Food Science

Glanbia Cheese     Scientist I