Dannon awards $50K for yogurt, probiotics & gut microbiome research

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/frentusha
© iStock/frentusha

Related tags Gut flora

The effects of probiotics during breastfeeding and how to identify unique chemical signatures to elucidate the benefits of probiotic yogurt are the two research projects on the receiving end of the Dannon Fellowship Grant.

Erin Davis from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Haley Chatelaine from The Ohio State University have both been awarded $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.

“At Dannon, we are proud to support future generations of scientists to further a field of study that will not only contribute to the knowledge of the gut microbiome, but could positively affect global public health,” ​said Miguel Freitas, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Dannon.

“Since 2012, it has been an honor for Dannon to participate in the success of student scientists. We congratulate both Erin Davis and Haley Chatelaine as they join the ranks of the elite scientific explorers who have advanced our understanding of how yogurt and probiotics affect human health.”


Davis and Chatelaine were selected from over 120 applicants by an international committee of scientists in food and nutrition.

“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,”​ said 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.”

Davis’s 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.  She 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. 

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 said: “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.”

Chatelaine’s 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.  

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