GLOBAL PROBIOTICS COUNCIL AWARDS THE 2017 YOUNG INVESTIGATOR GRANTS FOR PROBIOTIC RESEARCH
Alexandria, VA - The Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee formed by Danone Nutricia Research and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., announced the three recipients of the tenth annual Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO) today. The program was created to contribute to the advancement of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States. This year’s grant focus is to improve understanding of the mechanisms by which dietary and nutritional approaches impact the gut microbiota to improve physiological function and health status.
“A key goal of the YIGPRO grant program is to provide young investigators with funds to help support promising new careers in the quickly evolving field of microbiota and probiotics research,” said Dr. Gerard Denariaz, Strategic Partnerships and Prospective Director at Danone Nutricia Research.
These grants mark the tenth year of the grant program. “We are pleased to see the awardees approach this exciting field of science in such an innovative and collaborative manner,” said Fumiyasu Ishikawa, Director of Yakult Central Institute. “They are making an outstanding contribution to the field”.
The 2017 winners will explore how a healthy gut might act to reduce infection and improve immune status in the malnourished, and impact metabolic function by interacting with dietary fibers. The three winners are:
Luther Bartelt, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His project is titled “Investigating microbial-mediated bile acid metabolism influences on growth, intestinal permeability, and susceptibility to infection during malnutrition.” For this project, Dr. Bartelt will focus on determining how bacteria in the small intestine can influence nutrient absorption and prevent infection during nutrient-deficient conditions. This represents a major mechanistic problem with protein malnutrition in children throughout the developing world.
Megan Baldridge, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Her project is titled “Nutritional modulation of the commensal microbiome and intestinal antiviral immunity.” Using a mouse model, she will focus on determining how protein malnutrition alters the bacterial communities in the gut, leading to reduced immune function. This study will help to explain how protein malnutrition leads to increased intestinal infections in malnourished children in developing countries.
Amanda Ramer-Tait, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a member of the Nebraska Food for Health Center. Dr. Ramer-Tait’s project is titled “Microbial Interactions for Control of Metabolic Health.” In this study, she will determine how bacteria in the intestines interact with dietary fibers in the diet to improve metabolic health. The initial studies will be done in animal models, but eventually carried into clinical trials.
“The Selection Committee continues to be extremely enthused about the proposals received from excellent candidates,” said Dr. Allan Walker, Chair of the Committee. “The YIGPRO program has made a significant contribution to the field of probiotic and microbiota research over the past decade, in addition to supporting many outstanding young researchers.”
A rigorous review of all the applications was provided by the U.S. Probiotics Scientific Board Selection Committee, which is comprised of: W. Allan Walker, MD, Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, Richard Guerrant, MD, Director, Center for Global Health, University of Virginia School of Medicine, James Kaper, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Todd Klaenhammer, PhD, Distinguished University Professor & William Neal Reynolds Professor, North Carolina State University, and Balfour Sartor, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Global Probiotics Council will provide $50,000 over the course of one year to all three recipients and their respective institutions.
Additional details and future announcements on the Young Investigators Grant for Probiotics Research program and their respective institutions can be found at www.probioticsresearch.com.
The Global Probiotics Council (GPC) was established in 2004 through a collaborative arrangement between DANONE and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD. The role of the GPC is to promote and/or advance probiotics in the world, through means such as:
- Raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education and dissemination of information to health care professionals and the public;
- Communicating with government bodies, and other relevant interest groups; and
- Building relationships with leading researchers and research institutions and supporting collaborative research in the area of probiotics and intestinal microbiota.
GPC activities began with the establishment of a Probiotics Scientific Board in the United States. The Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research program was established to meet these goals by contributing to the advancement of probiotics study in the United States.
DANONE is the world’s leading producer of yogurt products. These products are sold under the DANNON and DANONE brand names. Since its foundation, DANONE has built its business on product offerings that combine health benefits and taste. Danone Nutricia Research is the organization responsible for all DANONE R&I activities (1500 employees worldwide). Its mission is to formulate DANONE products with health benefits based on scientific evidence. It also studies the effects of food on health and aims to continuously improve the nutritional profile of DANONE products worldwide. Probiotic research is a key expertise of Danone Nutricia Research. Over the past 90 years, DANONE has amassed a collection of approximately 4,000 lactic bacteria strains or “cultures”. In addition to taste and texture, some of these cultures provide probiotic health properties. Such is the case of Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010, used to produce Activia, and Lactobacillus casei DN 114 001, used to produce DanActive. Because this culture collection holds considerable potential for product innovation, Danone Nutricia Research using state-of-the-art technologies to select the probiotic bacteria of the future is carefully studying it.
From our earliest research on lactobacilli, through the development of our food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical businesses, Yakult has retained its commitment to improving human health. Today our responsibilities extend beyond basic health to embrace global social and environmental challenges. Yakult's Central Institute works to elucidate the relationship between human health and intestinal microbiota, focusing on basic research into the structures and functions of microbiota. 'YIF-SCAN', Yakult's state-of-the-art intestinal microbiota analysis system, selectively quantifies bacteria based on the unique gene sequences of individual microbiota with high quantitative performance and wide dynamic range. Synbiotic treatments (combining probiotics and prebiotics) have already been shown to promote the recovery of immune functions, prevent septic complications, promote absorption and digestion, improve nutritional status, and enhance recuperative powers by improving the balance of the microbiota. Yakult's network extends through Asia, Oceania, the Americas and Europe and our products are consumed in 38 countries. Daily global consumption of Yakult dairy products numbered 37 million in 2016. We will continue to strive to deepen our understanding of lactobacilli and support good health for all. Yakult U.S.A. Inc., the subsidiary of YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., is stationed in Southern California, Fountain Valley.