Perspectives Online

Klaenhammer receives UNC System O. Max Gardner Award


Dr. Todd Klaenhammer

Dr. Todd R. Klaenhammer, Distinguished University Professor of Food Science, Microbiology and Genetics in the College of Agriculture and life Sciences at N. C. State University, was honored May 8 with the O. Max Gardner Award the most significant universitywide honor given to faculty by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

The award is presented each year to one faculty member from the system's 17 campuses recognized as having "made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race." The award will be presented to Klaenhammer at today's Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill.

An elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Klaenhammer studies genetic approaches to improving lactic acid bacteria, the "good" bacteria used as starter cultures and probiotics in fermented food and dairy products, like yogurt. His recent research efforts have investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for the survival and activity of probiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and then used that information to develop live bacterial delivery systems for oral vaccines.

Klaenhammer directs the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, which conducts research and develops and applies new technologies for processing of milk and its components into dairy products and ingredients with improved health, safety, quality, and expanded functionalities.

During his academic career, Klaenhammer has served on numerous professional boards and panels. He currently serves on the scientific advisory boards for two European academic centers, and has served on a number of National Academy of Sciences committees. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Molecular Biotechnology, and was a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.

Among other awards and honors, Klaenhammer is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Dairy Science Association. He received the Nicolas Appert Award from the Institute of Food Technology in 2007; the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest award given to N.C. State faculty by the university, also in 2007; and the William C. Haines Dairy Research Science Award in 2006.

A native of Minnesota, Klaenhammer earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology and his master's and doctoral degrees in food science from the University of Minnesota. He came to N.C. State as an assistant professor in 1978 and was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and full professor in 1988. He was named William Neal Reynolds Professor in 1992, Alumni Distinguished Professor in 1993 and Distinguished University Professor in 2002.

Klaenhammer is the ninth N.C. State faculty member to win the O. Max Gardner Award in the past 14 years. The others are:

  • Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished Professor of Genetics, 2007
  • Dr. Kenneth Adler, professor of cell biology, 2005
  • Dr. Bruce Weir, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Statistics and Genetics, 2003
  • Dr. Joseph DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill, 2000
  • Dr. Jim Riviere, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Pharmacology, 1999
  • Dr. B. Jayant Baliga, Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, 1998
  • Dr. Wayne R. Skaggs, William Neal Reynolds Professor and Distinguished University Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, 1997
  • Dr. Ernest Hodgson, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Toxicology, 1996.

  • -- NCSU News Services