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2016-2017 Dannon Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Grant Program

The Dannon Company is pleased to announce that applications are being accepted for the recently expanded 2016-2017 Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Dannon Fellowship Grant. The grant offers a unique educational opportunity for two individuals in undergraduate, graduate or post-doctoral studies who show a strong interest in the research of the gut microbiome’s impact on human health and well-being and/or the nutritional and functional benefits of yogurt and probiotics. Each winner will receive a grant of $25,000, payable to their educational institutions, for their tuition or research-related projects. Furthermore, Dannon Fellows are connected to each other through this scholarship, encouraging collaboration, communication, and future opportunity in the field. We are proud to support future generations of researchers and scientists.

The Fellowship Grant was established in 2012 to better understand the role of probiotics and yogurt in human health and was expanded to explore the impact the gut microbiome has on the human body. The study of the gut microbiome is an exciting and rapidly emerging area of scientific exploration and there is still much to discover.

The 2016-2017 Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Dannon Fellowship Grant applications must be received by February 15, 2017 for consideration. The winning applicants will be determined by a cross-functional panel of experts, including:

  • Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., Dairy and Food Culture Technologies Consultant, and Executive Director of the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP)
  • Daniel Merenstein, M.D., Associate Professor and Director of Research Programs at the Departments of Family Medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Muriel Derrien, Senior Scientist – Gut Microbiota, Danone Nutricia Research
  • Miguel Freitas, Ph.D., Vice President of Health Affairs, The Dannon Company

Since its inception, the Dannon Fellowship Grant has enabled four scientists to make strides in the fields of biology, health sciences, nutrition, yogurt and probiotics. The Dannon Fellows include:

  • Nicholas Bokulich was awarded the grant in 2012 when he was a doctoral candidate with the Dr. David Mills Research Group at University of California, Davis. He applied the funds towards researching the use of foods as a delivery vector for beneficial bacteria in the human diet. This work led to several publications investigating the microbiome, food production and human health. His research has also addressed methods for improving microbial analysis using high-throughput sequencing techniques. Nicholas is currently a postdoctoral fellow at New York University Langone Medical Center.
  • Kurt Selle was awarded the grant in 2013 as a North Carolina State University Functional Genomics doctoral candidate within the Food Science, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science Department. He used the funds to develop technology for studying the adaptation of fermentative microbes to milk, publishing his findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and presenting the results at the 11th International Symposium on Lactic Acid Bacteria as an invited speaker. Since receiving the award, to date, Selle has presented research at four international conferences and published eight research articles.
  • Amanda Ford, 2014’s recipient, is a University of Florida Ph.D. student who used the grant to investigate the effects of protein fermentation on the human microbiota and on different measures of digestive health both with and without probiotic consumption. Ford is now conducting a clinical research study to investigate these effects in older adults given a higher protein diet. The grant has also allowed her to focus exclusively on this research and expand the scope and outcome measures.
  • Micah Eimerbrink, the winner from 2015, is an Experimental Psychology doctoral candidate at Texas Christian University focusing on Behavioral Neuroscience. His interdisciplinary research examines the relationship between probiotics, the gut microbiome, and brain function and has been presented at four international conferences. Evidence from his work has indicated that probiotic-induced behavioral changes occur alongside alterations in neurotransmitter receptor expression in regions of the brain associated with memory of fear. He used the funds to collaborate with Dr. Jonathan Oliver’s Kinesiology lab to investigate the use of probiotics to reduce the psychological and physiological indicators of stress in military personnel.

For additional information and qualification requirements, please refer to the application here. We look forward to reviewing your application!