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Leading Yogurt Company Challenges Students to Unearth New Data on the Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics with $50K Grant Program

08:59 EDT 19 Oct 2016 | PR Newswire

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Oct. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Dannon Company, Inc. ("Dannon")® launches its 2016-2017 Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Dannon Fellowship Grant program as a part of its continued commitment to support scientists and advance cutting-edge research across the country. To help celebrate Dannon's fifth year of funding student research, in 2017 Dannon will announce two $25,000 grant award recipients instead of one.

Dannon is excited to increase the grant award this year, and believes that the additional funds will boost interest in the program, as well as further inspire students to investigate the gut microbiome, yogurt and probiotics' impact on human health.

"As the leading maker of yogurt in the U.S. and globally, sold under the Dannon and Danone brand, Dannon is unmatched in how we have fulfilled our promise to advance education, research and innovation regarding probiotics and yogurt," said Dr. Miguel Freitas, Vice President of Health Affairs at Dannon. "Because the past four programs have garnered substantial interest among the educational community, we've decided to double our investment and offer two Fellowship Grants to students focused on research of the gut microbiome and the functional and nutritional benefits of yogurt and probiotics."

The Fellowship Grant was established 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 Dannon recognizes there is still much to discover. Yet, there are very few scholarships and grants available to help education in this field. Through Dannon's grant program and its participation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy National Microbiome Initiative, they are gradually closing the funding gap for gut microbiome research and seeing results. This follows Dannon's 2014 commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America to improve the nutritional density of its products by 10 percent.

Since creating the Fellowship Grant program, Dannon has issued more than $100,000 worth of grant funds to scientists who made strides in the interdisciplinary fields of biology, health sciences, nutrition, yogurt and probiotics through their grant program. Below is a list of previous grant award recipients:

  • Micah EimerbrinkTexas Christian University (2015) Eimerbrink is currently an experimental psychology doctoral candidate focusing on Behavioral Neuroscience. His interdisciplinary research examines the relationship between the gut microbiome, probiotics, and brain function, and has been presented at four international conferences. Evidence from his work has indicated that probiotics may be associated with the memory of fear. He also used funds to research the use of probiotics as a way to reduce psychological and physiological indicators of stress in military personnel.
  • Amanda FordUniversity of Florida (2014)
    As a PhD student, Ford's grant-funded research investigated 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 study with older adults on a higher protein diet.
  • Kurt SelleNorth Carolina State University (2013)Selle was a Functional Genomics doctoral candidate within the Food Science, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science Department when he began his research. He used grants 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, Selle has presented research at four international conferences and published eight research articles.
  • Nicholas BokulichUniversity of California, Davis (2012)As a doctoral candidate with the Dr. David Mills Research Group, Bokulich put his funds towards researching foods that enhance beneficial bacteria in humans. His research eventually led to several publications investigating the gut microbiome, food production and human health. Nicholas is currently a postdoctoral fellow at New York University Langone Medical Center.

Dannon Fellowship Application Guidelines

  • The program is currently accepting applications until February 15, 2017. To qualify, individuals must be current undergraduate or graduate students, or postdoctoral scholars.
  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, show proof of U.S. residence, and be able to utilize the scholarship funds during 2017 at an accredited U.S. institution.
  • All applicants will be required to submit an application that includes a personal essay, recommendations from two professors, and proof of good academic standing.
  • The application and full scholarship details are available at www.dannon.com/fellowship-application/.

About DannonHeadquartered in White Plains, New York, Dannon makes yogurt in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, West Jordan, UT, and Portland, OR, and offers more than 200 different flavors, styles and sizes of cultured refrigerated and frozen dairy products to serve the diverse needs of its retail and foodservice customers. Dannon brings health through food to as many people as possible via its wide offering of delicious and wholesome fresh and frozen yogurts.

Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, and Dannon is the top-selling brand of yogurt worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone. For more information, visit www.dannon.com.

Media Contacts:Mahlori Isaacs
Pollock Communications
(212) 941-1414
Misaacs@pollock-pr.com

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SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.

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