Working With the Game-Changer Known as CRISPR

NC State doctoral student Katelyn Brandt works with a team led by Rodolphe Barrangou who conducts CRISPR research at NC State.

CRISPR involves a group of molecules which are capable of editing DNA. Vastly different from any other genetic editing attempted, CRISPR is a scientific superstar and scientists are clamoring to create or join labs like the one at State run by Barrangou. CRISPR, a naturally occurring system, is being coopted as a genome editing tool, explains Brandt. Therein lies an enormous difference that has become the passionate focus of scientists here and around the world.

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Barrangou Wins NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou, the Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research, University Scholar and associate professor in the NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, will receive the 2018 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences for his discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR-Cas systems.

The award recognizes research by a mid-career scientist at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. Barrangou will receive a medal and a $100,000 prize.

Barrangou’s groundbreaking research established CRISPR as the adaptive immune system of bacteria, a discovery that promoted the practical use of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing. The work has tremendous worldwide applications in food and agriculture, including virus resistance in the widely used yogurt starter culture Streptococcus thermophilus and the potential for translational genome editing in other microbes, crops and livestock.

“What another great honor for Dr. Barrangou from the National Academy of Sciences!” said CALS Dean Richard Linton. “This recognition shows the value of his work and high level of science credibility. We are so proud to have such a national leader here at NC State.”

Starting with their landmark paper in 2007, Barrangou and his collaborators illustrated that bacteria capture and integrate new DNA sequences called “spacers” into a feature of their genome called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs). The CRISPR, they discovered, work together with cas (CRISPR-associated) genes to provide specific resistance and adaptive immunity against viruses. The worldwide attention devoted to this discovery allowed researchers to address questions of bacterial survival, population diversity and evolutionary dynamics. Other subsequent studies unraveled the mechanistic basis for the Cas nucleases mode of action.

In the years since, Barrangou has remained at the forefront of CRISPR-related research. He led the first major practical application of these discoveries, an effort to guide adaptive virus immunity in yogurt and cheese starter cultures and helped solve an industrial problem that affects millions of gallons of milk around the world every day. Barrangou also showed that adaptive immunity can also target plasmids and functions by cleaving DNA.

Through all of this, he has also led the growth of this field through teaching, lecturing, serving on scientific advisory boards and co-organizing many of the annual CRISPR biology meetings that arose immediately following the publication of his groundbreaking paper. Recent efforts include the use of CRISPR as antimicrobials and the launch of a local start-up company, Locus Biosciences, in collaboration with the NC State Office of Technology Commercialization and New Ventures.

 

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North Carolina State University Genomics Sciences Center Launches Newly Redesigned Website

North Carolina State University is very excited to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website for our Genomics Sciences Center. Our new site was designed and built by TheeDesign Studio, a full service web design and internet marketing company here in Raleigh, North Carolina. The new site is built on WordPress, a very user-friendly content management system. It allows our team to easily add and update content, image and video. It also allows us to add new pages and blog posts at any time without the help of a developer.

Some of our favorite features on our new website are:

WordPress Website with Custom Design and User Friendly Interface

Our team at the NCSU Genomics Center finds the WordPress platform to be intuitive, making our new site easy to update and manage. Our homepage, functional genomics program information, student resources page, and contact information pages are presented clearly for visitors to our site to find what they are looking for. Aside from the ease of the front end layout, WordPress features a back end that is just as easy and user friendly. Within just one hour of training, TheeDesign Studio taught our team how to update content, post blog entries, upload videos and photos, and manage student resources.

Responsive Web Design for User-Friendly Viewing on Mobile and Tablet Devices

The responsive design feature is one of our new and exciting features we’ve added to our site. Responsive web design allows a site to respond and adapt to devices according to the orientation of our visitor’s screen size and resolution. This means that our site visitors can view our website on various mobile platforms like their smartphones and tablets. This allows easier access for our students, teachers and prospects to our website and resources from anywhere.

Program Application Information for Prospective Students

Our “How to Apply” page allows interested individuals to find all the information they need on applying to the NC State Genomic Sciences Program. Visitors to our site are able to find information related to degree options, application requirements, tuition, and more. The page allows quick and easy access to frequently asked questions if regard to the genomic sciences program.

Onsite Genomic Sciences Center Blog

Our newly designed website features an on-site blog, allowing our NCSU Genomic Sciences staff and students to show off all of their hard work done throughout the program. With this blog, we can provide the Raleigh community with reliable information about the university’s department and programs. Our blog is easy and simple for our team to update and helps position our genomics sciences program as a valuable asset to the North Carolina community for research and education.

We’re very excited about our newly designed site! We invite you to visit and see it for yourself. Don’t forget to check out our blog to see the latest news in our work and research done in our Genomic Sciences program and check out our program information if you are interested in joining our department.

If you are interested in custom web design or internet marketing, please visit our friends at TheeDesign.com or call 919-341-8901.