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Classified in: Health
Subject: CSR

Danone North America Drives Innovation in Yogurt, Probiotic and Gut Microbiome Science with $50,000 in Student Grants

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Danone North America is proud to honor their commitment to science and education through the ninth annual Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Grant Program. This year's esteemed honorees, selected by a committee of nutrition scientists, are Catherine Shelton of Vanderbilt University and Alice Solomon of the University of Arizona. Winners were chosen based on the quality of their proposals, faculty recommendations and each of their studies' value to human health and wellness.

"This year, we are pleased to have received an abundance of exceptional, highly innovative proposals," said Miguel Freitas, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Danone North America. "The 2020-2021 winners are poised to drive scientific discoveries and contribute to crucial advances in our understanding of probiotics, the gut microbiome and human health. At Danone North America, we consider it our purpose to help further this field and support the future of these high-quality researchers."

The Danone Fellowship Grant was established in 2010 with the intention of providing funding for novel studies of yogurt, probiotics and the gut microbiome. As such, Solomon's research will investigate the mechanisms of probiotic and prebiotic function in the gut microbiome as a mediator of cardiovascular disease and Metabolic Syndrome, while Shelton will be identifying early-life microbiota components that may prevent obesity in children.

"Receiving this grant means I am given an opportunity to study a relationship that is commonly overlooked and not well studied," comments Solomon, a graduate student at the University of Arizona. "This grant allows me to investigate the mechanisms of probiotic function in the gut microbiome as a mediator of cardiovascular disease and other related complications that arise during menopause. I am excited to complete my research proposal because I look forward to contributing to the overall improvement of human health through insight gained from studying the gut microbiome."

The impact of yogurt, probiotics and the gut microbiome has exceeded expectations and been tied to brain, digestive and immune function. Unsurprisingly, consumer interest in fermented foods, immune health and gut health has soared ? and top research institutions are pioneering new ways to study various aspects of its power, potential and influence. Plus, consumers are increasingly interested in the connection between gut health and the immune system as they continue to seek out products that are tailored to helping improve specific health and wellness issues.

"I am honored to be selected as one of the 2020-2021 Danone Fellowship Grant winners," says Shelton, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. "I am very excited to receive this Grant award as it will help advance my scientific career and support my research into the role of early-life microbiota metabolites in host health. The role of the early-life microbiota in childhood weight gain is largely unknown. I'm excited to address this critical gap in knowledge and gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of how the early-life microbiota protects against obesity. I'm particularly enthusiastic about identifying early-life microbiota-derived metabolites that prevent diet-induced obesity."

"Danone North America strives to empower scientific, creative minds to nurture advances in yogurt, probiotic and gut microbiome science," adds Dr. Freitas. "We recognize that supporting the pursuit of academic and scientific excellence will lead to meaningful advancements in the study of human health."

About Danone North America
Headquartered in White Plains, New York, and Broomfield, Colorado, the mission of Danone North America is to bring health through food to as many people as possible via its diverse offering of dairy and plant-based foods in high growth and evolving categories. The ambition of Danone North America is to produce healthful foods that create economic and social value and nurture natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Every time we eat and drink, we vote for the world we want. And as the largest public benefit corporation in the U.S., Danone North America is taking bold steps for social good in the U.S. Danone North America is a subsidiary of Danone and more information is available at www.DanoneNorthAmerica.com.

About the 2020-2021 Danone Fellowship Grant
The Danone Fellow Grant is awarded to incoming or current graduate students who have demonstrated an interest in exploring the gut microbiome, probiotics and yogurt to better understand how they help support and maintain human health and wellness. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, show proof of U.S. residence, and be able to utilize the scholarship funds during 2021 at an accredited U.S. institution. All applicants will be required to submit an application that includes answers to essay questions, recommendations from two faculty members, and proof of good academic standing. The application and full scholarship details are available here.

Christina Deecken

SOURCE Danone North America

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