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Probiotic research grants handed out

By Lorraine Heller , 03-Aug-2010

Danone and Yakult have handed out another $100,000 for research into the benefits of probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome and the identification of new beneficial probiotic strains.

This is the third consecutive year that young scientists receive grants from the Global Probiotics Council (GPC) – set up by the two dairy firms – in order to encourage research into the healthy bacteria.

This year, GPC again donated two Young Investigator Grants for Probiotics Research, each of a value of $50,000 to be provided over the course of the year.

New research

The first went to Ian Carroll PhD, a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Program for Digestive Diseases at the University of North Carolina, 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’.

“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,” said GPC.

The second grant is going to Michael Fischbach, PhD, 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 for his proposal ‘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,” said the group.

The winners were decided after a scientific review of all the applications by the US Probiotics Scientific Board Selection Committee.

GPC

The Global Probiotics Council, which was set up in 2004, said its grants are designed to stimulate innovative research, support young investigators, and attract new researchers in the United States into the field of probiotics and gut microbiota.

The GPC has three main goals:

  • Raise awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education and dissemination of information to health care professionals and the public
  • Communicate with government bodies, and other relevant interest groups
  • Build relationships with leading researchers and research institutions and supporting collaboration research in the area of probiotics and intestinal microbiota.

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