He’s an all-America, all-pro, all everything in the academic world these days. Now the challenge for N.C. State University is to keep Rodolphe Barrangou, food science professor, on the team. The university is said to be engaged in a yeoman’s effort to do just that.
Here’s what Barrangou, who’s worked in the private sector as well as in university research, has done lately: He is one recipient of the 2016 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, through Harvard University and its medical school. Barrangou is a pioneer, NCSU reports, in “the discovery of the adaptive bacterial immune system known as CRISPR.” N.C. State and Harvard say that the professor’s work and that of other researchers is “offering enormous potential for developing new gene- and cell-based therapies, including treatment strategies for previously intractable genetic diseases.”
In addition to treatment of disease with ever-more-intense focus on gene therapy, CRISPR system may be used in food production, food safety and plant breeding.
Most scientists who achieve honors at this level have been at their work for decades; Barrangou is only 40 years old. It also should be noted that a significant number of recipients of the Alpert Prize have later won a Nobel Prize in the sciences. (Barrangou holds degrees from universities in France and from N.C. State, in food science and genomics.
Let there be no doubt: N.C. State is respected among its peers and a destination of choice for top scholars, but when faculty members are honored in this way, the university’s true greatness is underlined.