The Dannon Company, Inc. announced this year's recipients of the Dannon® Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Grant Program.  The 2016-2017 honorees are Erin Davis from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Haley Chatelaine from The Ohio State University.  They were selected from a competitive pool of over 120 applicants by an international committee of scientists in food and nutrition. Each student will receive $25,000 to help fund their independent and unique investigations looking at the diverse health impact of yogurt and/or probiotics on the human gut microbiome.

"The Dannon® Grant will allow me to further explore the effects of early life nutrition on the infant gut microbiota, immune development and early childhood growth," explains Erin Davis, doctoral candidate in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.  "By investigating the effects of consuming probiotics during breastfeeding on both mom and infant, I hope to advance our understanding of how we can influence the microbiota and immune development during this critical time of life." 

Haley Chatelaine, a doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Nutrition, intends to advance the study of the gut microbiome by investigating novel data that could positively influence gut health in humans.  Chatelaine states that, "this fellowship will allow me to start a new, integrative line of research to identify unique chemical signatures to help further explain the benefits of probiotic yogurt consumption." 

The Dannon® Fellowship program is in its fifth year of funding future scientists.  For the 2016-2017 program, Dannon® expanded the areas of study to include the gut microbiome and created two, $25,000 awards to support the recognized value and significance of the gut on human health.  It is no surprise this resulted in Dannon® receiving the most applications since its launch.

Since 2012, Dannon® has granted $150,000 to scientists making strides in the interdisciplinary fields of biology, health sciences, nutrition, yogurt and probiotics.  The company looks forward to learning from the results of this year's recipients. 

About the Award Recipients

Erin Davis is a graduate student pursuing her doctoral degree in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, with a concurrent enrollment in the Didactic Program in Dietetics, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research is centered on the effects of early life nutrition on the infant gut microbiota, immune development, and early childhood growth, with a focus on the immune, microbial and macronutrient composition of human milk.  Erin plans to investigate the effects of probiotics consumption, by breastfeeding mothers, on the immune and microbial composition of human milk as well as maternal and infant gut microbiota.  Upon completion of her PhD and Dietetic Internship, Erin plans to complete post-doctoral training studying perinatal and early life nutrition.

Haley Chatelaine is a first-year PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Nutrition PhD Program at The Ohio State University.  Her research focuses on using novel metabolomic analyses to identify chemical signatures of probiotic yogurt consumption. Chatelaine explains that integrating this novel metabolomic data with microbiome analyses will allow for the generation of hypotheses regarding gut microbiome function, probiotic utility and potential modulation of colon health.  Upon graduation, Haley plans to pursue post-doctoral work in the field of metabolomics, food science and human nutrition.