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.
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.
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.
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.
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 characterizing CRISPR-associated transposons, engineering bacteriophages, and exploring CRISPR-Cas system functionality within lactic acid bacteria.
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.
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.
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.
Hometown: Efland, North Carolina
Past Education: BS Microbiology, BS Mathematics, NC State University
Emma completed Bachelor’s degrees in Microbiology and Mathematics at NC State University before transitioning to industry and working as a production scientist in a fermentation department. As an undergraduate she participated in a summer research experience learning about modeling biological systems, and spent a semester searching for an elusive RNase P gene in the genome of an archeote. She joined the lab in January 2023 and is working on better understanding lactobacillus-bacteriophage dynamics.
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.
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|
|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|
||2013-2018||MS Food Science
PhD Functional Genomics
||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|