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Awardees for the 2009 Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research Announced
Date:7/21/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Probiotics Council (GPC), a committee established in 2004 by DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., announced the two recipients of the annual Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO) today. The program was created to identify young rising stars who will continue to contribute to the advancement of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States. This year, the grant focus is on the role of probiotics in health and disease.

Glynis L. Kolling, PhD, an Instructor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the University of Virginia was selected for her research proposal, "The Influence of Novel Oligopeptides Produced by Transgenic Bacteria on Intestinal Injury Due to C. difficile Infection." After certain inflammatory conditions, drug treatments, or infections, human gut microbiota can become unbalanced. This research will focus on creating a bacterial delivery system that will promote intestinal repair and restore the balance of normal microbiota. Dr. Kolling's work could help patients who experience antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) after receiving antibiotic treatment.

The other grant will be awarded to Xinhua Chen, PhD, who is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His proposal is titled "Protective Role of Baker's Yeast in Colonic Inflammation and Cancer." This study could make an important contribution in understanding the mechanisms by which yeast, which has been used for centuries for the production of fermented foods, may prove to be preventative or therapeutic in fighting intestinal inflammation and colon cancer. The GI tract has an extremely complicated ecosystem and Dr. Chen's work should contribute to the growing understanding of the mechanisms on how probiotics work in GI disorders.

The Global Probiotics Council (GPC) was extremely pleased with the outstanding quality of the applications received for the second year of this grant. A rigorous review and evaluation of all the applications was provided by the U.S. Probiotics Scientific Board Selection Committee, which is comprised of W. Allan Walker, MD, 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, MD, Director, Center for Global Health, University of Virginia School of Medicine and Balfour Sartor, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "We were very impressed with the high caliber of science in the applications received," said Dr. Walker, Chair of the Committee.

The GPC, established by DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. is committed to raising awareness of probiotics and their health benefits through science-based education. The Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research was created in 2008 to stimulate innovative research relevant to the field of gastrointestinal microbiota, to support young investigators in the United States, to attract them into the field of probiotics, and to provide preliminary data for future funding from NIH and other funding sources. The global advancement in this growing research field is a key to understanding how probiotic food might contribute to good health in all ages.

"Each year, promising new evidence on the benefits of probiotics on human health continues to emerge," said Sven Thormahlen, Executive Vice President R&D, Danone Research. "We hope the two young investigators will advance our knowledge in the growing field of probiotics and provide insight to better understanding the full potential of 'friendly' microorganisms and the mechanisms in which they promote human health."

"We are very pleased with the direction and success of this program. We hope this grant will continue to increase interest and raise awareness of probiotics among young researchers in the United States," says Mr. Yoshihiro Kawabata, Senior Managing Director, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.

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

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

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:

  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.

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.

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.

Probiotic research is a key expertise of DANONE RESEARCH. Over the past 90 years, DANONE has amassed a collection of approximately 3,500 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 produce Activia, and Lactobacillus casei DN 114 001, used to produce DanActive. Because this culture collection holds considerable potential for product innovation, DANONE RESEARCH using state-of-the-art technologies such as genomics and robotics to select the probiotic bacteria of the future is carefully studying it. For more information, please visit www.danone.com/?lang=en, www.danone.com/en/research-innovations.html, www.dannon.com.

Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's pioneer in probiotics by introducing the first single shot probiotics drink, Yakult((R)), in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult((R)) contains high amounts of its signature strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult is committed to researching the endless applications for probiotics and the role 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 regions. 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 http://www.yakult.co.jp/english, http://www.yakult.co.jp/institute, http://www.yakultusa.com .


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SOURCE Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.; DANONE
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