Gairdner Symposium

The Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI) is delighted to host this year's Canada Gairdner International Award recipient Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou. Dr. Barrangou was awarded the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award "for establishing and characterizing [the] CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune defense system".

ARRTI invites all interested parties to the Canada Gairdner Symposium on November 14th and 15th, 2016 at the University of Lethbridge, titled:

RNA Meets DNA: From molecules to medicine

(and everything in between)

See the Event Schedule and Abstract Book!

The Symposium will begin with Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou's keynote lecture titled:

"CRISPR-Cas Systems: from adaptive immunity to genome editing machines"

Date: Monday, November 14th, 2016
Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm (doors open at 12:30)
Location: Students' Union Ballroom
Cost: FREE
Everybody Welcome!

Video now available!

Dr. Barrangou's lecture will be followed by oral presentations on November 15th, from 11 am to 4 pm (Penny Building Room 210; 324 5th Street South, Lethbridge). Oral presentations will be selected from among the registered participants.
Registration is free through Eventbrite, and is open until November 4, 2016. Abstracts may be submitted through email to

About Dr. Barrangou:

Dr. Barrangou earned a BS in Biological Sciences from Rene Descartes University in Paris, France, a MS in Biological Engineering from the University of Technology in Compiegne, France, a MS in Food Science from NC State, a PhD in Genomics from NC State and a MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He spent 9 years in R&D and M&A at Danisco and DuPont. Currently, Rodolphe Barrangou is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State, focusing on the evolution and functions of CRISPR-Cas systems, and their applications in bacteria used in food manufacturing. Rodolphe is also an associate member of the Microbiology graduate program, the Biotechnology graduate program, the Functional Genomics graduate program, and the Comparative Medicine Institute. Dr. Barrangou is the T. R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Scholar in Probiotics Research, is a NC State University Distinguished Scholar, and the recipient of the 2014 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award. Recently, Rodolphe received the 2016 Warren Alpert Prize and the 2016 Canada Gairdner International Award. Dr. Barrangou is also on the Board of Directors of Caribou Biosciences, a co-founder and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Intellia Therapeutics, and a co-founder of Locus Biosciences. 


Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), together with associated sequences (cas) constitute the CRISPR-Cas system, which provides adaptive immunity against invasive elements in many bacteria and most archaea. Recently, the CRISPR machinery has been repurposed to drive the Cas9-enabled genome editing craze. Actually, the democratization of CRISPR-based technologies in the past three years hinges on the portability and functionalities of these molecular machines, and has revolutionized biology. I will look back on the historical milestones that have paved the way for the CRISPR era, and discuss the diverse applications that have impacted and continue to shape the field of Medicine, as well as Ag, Food and Biotechnology. Lastly, I will consider the impacts this transformative field has had on science and society. 


 About the Canada Gairdner International Award:

The Canada Gairdner International Award is presented annually by the Canada Gairdner Foundation to international researchers who have made exceptional contributions to biomedical sciences. The Canada Gairdner International Award is exceeded in prestige by only a few international awards, including the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Since 1959, there have been 326 researchers presented with the Canada Gairdner International Award; of these 326 researchers, 83 have gone on to win a Nobel Prize in Medicine or Chemistry. The Canada Gairdner International Award has an international reputation for recognizing outstanding medical breakthroughs, and it is now widely considered to be an indicator of future Nobel Prize-winning research. 

The Canada Gairdner Foundation is also a national educational program supported by the Government of Canada, as well as the Government of Alberta. In 2008, the Canadian Government provided the Canada Gairdner Foundation with $20 million to continue the award for future generations. Part of this funding is used to inspire young people to consider medical and scientific careers, and to increase public awareness of the value of scientific research and discovery. To this end, the Canada Gairdner Foundation sends Award winners to more than 20 Canadian university so that they may discuss their research careers with scientists, research trainees, and high school students to foster scientific curiosity. 

Below is a selected list of Canada Gairdner International Award winners and a brief description of the research for which they were awarded the prize. Researchers whose names appear in bold have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.