NC gene-editing pioneer has been named to the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Raleigh – Rudolf Barango is the Todd R Kleinhammer Distinguished Professor Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutritional Sciences At North Carolina State University, he is entered in National Inventors Hall of Fame In recognition of his inventions, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

Parango He becomes the seventh NC State faculty member elected to the hall. He is one of 16 new members elected this year. He will be formally appointed during a ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in October.

Rodolphe Barrangou uses the CRISPR gene-editing system to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Image by Mark Hall via NCSU.

Paranjo focuses on understanding the genetic basis of the health-promoting and fermentative properties of beneficial bacteria used in foods. As a pioneer in the discovery of the adaptive bacterial immune system known as CRISPR, Barango showed that CRISPR-Cas systems defend bacteria against unwanted invaders such as viruses called phages. Possible applications include genome editing, antibacterial and antimicrobial production, food safety, food fermentation, plants, trees and livestock breeding.

While working at Danisco, a food ingredient company now owned by DuPont and recently acquired by the IFF, Barrangou and his colleagues—including fellow National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee Philip Horvath—published the seminal CRISPR paper in the journal Sciences in 2007. That paper showed that CRISPR is an adaptive immune system that can obtain genetic snapshots of bacterial attacks by viruses. Related technology covering the use of CRISPR-Cas systems in dairy bacteria to enhance the resistance of starter cultures to viruses was patented in 2005 and has been widely commercialized for the fermentation of cheese and yogurt.

Barango has received many prestigious honors for his work on CRISPR-Cas systems. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2019 and elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2018. He also received the NAS Award in Food and Agriculture Science in 2018 and the NAS Award in Molecular Biology in 2017. He is also the recipient of the Warren Alpert Foundation Award 2016 and the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award, and was elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2019.

Paranjo is the editor-in-chief of the magazine CRISPR Journala peer-reviewed publication that brings together researchers and practitioners in a broad range of disciplines, including genetics and genomics, cell biology, immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, plant biology, ethics and law , which covers many applications and implications of CRISPR technology.

He has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, and has more than 50 patents issued and pending.

Barango joined the NC State faculty in 2013. He was awarded the 2014 NC State Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award and the 2015 NC State Faculty Award. He has been Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers since 2014. He is a member of He is a co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics, Locus Biosciences, TreeCo, Ancilia Biosciences and CRISPR Biotechnologies.

Paranjo has a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from René Descartes University in Paris, France. He holds a master’s degree in Biological Engineering from the University of Technology in Compiègne, France; MSc in Food Science and Ph.D. in Functional Genomics from NC State; and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame was established in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to honor the individuals who have conceived, patented, and developed the world’s greatest technological achievements. It has evolved into the nation’s leading nonprofit organization offering invention education programs and innovative competitions.

(c) NCSU

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