Recipients of the 2010 Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research Announced The Global Probiotics Council Continues to Fund Rising Stars

Monday, August 2, 2010 Research News
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ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 2 The Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee established in 2004 by Danone and YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., announced the two recipients of the third 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. The gastrointestinal microbiota is made up of trillions of live microbes that inhabit the human body and participate in numerous functions such as digestion, immune system development and protection from pathogens.

Ian Carroll, Ph.D., a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Program for Digestive Diseases at the University of North Carolina was selected for his research proposal, "Role of Intestinal Microbiota in Increased Levels of Fecal Serine Proteases and Intestinal Permeability using Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a Model." Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) represents many challenges to clinicians, and the pathogenesis of this disorder is not well understood. Dr. Carroll's approach to characterizing the gut microbiome of diarrhea-predominant IBS patients with elevated levels of fecal serine protease activity could provide important therapeutic targets for this functional disorder.

The other grant will be awarded to Michael Fischbach, Ph.D., who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint Department of the School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. His proposal is titled "A Gene-to-Model Approach to Discovering New Antibiotics from Probiotic Bacteria." This study could provide an important foundation for understanding the role of production of antimicrobial compounds in probiotics for delivering health benefit. Dr. Fischbach's work in mechanism understanding will help identify new probiotic strains of lactic acid bacteria that are likely to be effective in providing health benefits.

A rigorous scientific review of all the applications was provided by the U.S. Probiotics Scientific Board Selection Committee, which is comprised of W. Allan Walker, M.D., Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD, Executive Director, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), Richard Guerrant, M.D., Director, Center for Global Health, University of Virginia School of Medicine and Balfour Sartor, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "This was a remarkable group of applicants, and the caliber of science was very impressive," said Dr. Walker, Chair of the Committee.

"We are extremely pleased with the outstanding quality of applications received for the third consecutive cycle of this grant," said Sven Thormahlen, Executive Vice President R&D, Danone Research. "We hope these grants will help to uncover additional beneficial probiotics and will identify critical mechanisms by which they are promoting health."

"We are committed to raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education," says Mr. Yoshihiro Kawabata, Senior Managing Director, YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD. "By funding these annual grants, we are building a network of young investigators engaged in the research fields of probiotics and the microbiota in the United States, which, in turn, will have a global impact."

The Global Probiotics Council will provide $50,000 over the course of one year to both Drs. Carroll and Fischbach and their respective institutions.

Additional details and future announcements on the Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research program can be found at

About the Global Probiotics Council:

The Global Probiotics Council (GPC) was established in 2004 through a collaborative agreement 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:

GPC activities began with the establishment of the 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.

About Danone & Danone Research:

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, which combine health benefits and taste. Danone Research is the organization responsible for all Danone R&D activities (1200 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.

Among others, probiotic research is a key expertise of Danone 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 make Activia, and Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001, used to make DanActive. Because this culture collection holds considerable potential for product innovation, Danone Research using state-of-the-art technologies to select the probiotic bacteria of the future is carefully studying it. For more information, please visit,,


YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's pioneer in probiotics by introducing the first single shot probiotics drink, Yakult(Ū), in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult(Ū) contains high amounts of its signature strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult is committed to researching the endless applications for probiotics and the use of intestinal bacteria in human health around the world. The company has established two science institutes to support its efforts: one in Japan (Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research) and one in Europe (Yakult Honsha European Research Center for Microbiology ESV). Since developing its overseas network in 1964, Yakult has expanded its business to 32 countries and territories. In addition to producing the internationally recognized probiotic beverage, Yakult is also accredited in the pharmaceutical field for its development of Campto Injection (Camptosar), the first-line drug for colorectal cancer in the U.S. Yakult U.S.A. Inc., the subsidiary of YAKULT HONSHA CO., LTD., is stationed in Torrance, CA. For more information, please visit,,

1. Raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education and dissemination of information to health care professionals and the public; 2. Communicating with government bodies, and other relevant interest groups; and 3. Building relationships with leading researchers and research institutions and supporting collaboration research in the area of probiotics and intestinal microbiota.

SOURCE Global Probiotics Council

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