For food scientist Rodolphe Barrangou, good scientific research is like a gourmet meal.

“The way we do research at NC State essentially is enabling me to be a great chef,” he said. “I have a fantastic kitchen with my lab facilities. I have a fantastic cooking team with the students and staff that we have. Then we have great recipes that we can use to bring together all those ingredients and make a masterpiece.”

Barrangou’s masterpiece involves an emerging technology that’s one of the hottest buzzwords in science: CRISPR. The Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Professor in Probiotics Research is among the world’s foremost experts in this field. For more than a decade, he and his team have been using different CRISPR sequences to vaccinate dairy bacteria against thousands of common dairy viruses.

In the process, the NC State graduate has co-founded a successful startup, won international awards, mentored the next generation of CRISPR researchers and helped advance genetic research across a wide range of fields. And he and his fellow scientists have only just begun to tap CRISPR’s potential.

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Originally published Nov. 28, 2018.