Dr. Todd R. Klaenhammer, William Neal Reynolds Professor of food science and microbiology, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Election to membership in the NAS is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist. The NAS, signed into being by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, has included eminent scientists from Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell to Carl Sagan and James Watson.

Klaenhammer is one of 72 U.S. scientists elected to the prestigious academy this year, and the first food scientist ever to become an NAS member. His election brings to nine the number of current NC State faculty who are NAS members. The university also has 10 current faculty who are members of NAS’ peer institution, the National Academy of Engineering.

Klaenhammer is director of the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center at NC State, and is one of the world’s leading experts on the beneficial roles of lactic acid bacteria, which are used to preserve foods and prevent the growth of food-borne pathogens. He is widely cited for his seminal research to develop gene-based defenses that prevent viruses from infecting the beneficial bacterial cultures that ferment milk into cheese.

Klaenhammer’s research group is also internationally recognized for its genomic studies on Lactobacillus cultures that are beneficial in the human gastrointestinal tract. Genomic information is being used to understand how these beneficial bacteria survive passage through the stomach, enter the intestines, and produce various benefits, including improved digestion and stimulation of the immune system.

For more information, please visit http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/food_science/trk/main.html