Fellowship Application

    2022-2023 Danone North America Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Grant

    In its 11th year, the 2022-2023 Danone North America Gut Microbiome, Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Grant is accepting applications!

    Danone North America (“Danone”), will award $25,000 to two graduate students interested in exploring the gut microbiome, probiotics and yogurt to better understand how they help support and maintain human health and wellness.*

    Since its inception, the Danone North America Fellowship Grant has enabled up-and-coming scientists to make strides in the interdisciplinary fields of biology, health sciences, nutrition, microbiome, yogurt, and probiotics. The esteemed recipients to date:

    • 2021 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Elena Kozlova of University of California, Riverside is using the grant to study the effects of maternal administration of probiotics on offspring’s gut-brain axis and the relationship to socioemotional development in an environmental toxicant model. This work has the potential to explore development of social neuropeptide and thyroid endocrine systems, how male and female offspring may be differentially affected, and may provide a better understanding of how maternal breast milk can promote a healthy microbiome in offspring.

    • 2021 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Yannis Ntekas of Cornell University is using the grant to leverage single-cell RNA sequencing technologies to effectively profile the gut microbiome with cell-phenotype resolution. This research work will address big unknowns like the dynamics of gut colonization by probiotics, and their interaction with the native microbiome, contributing to microbiome basic research and informing the development of the next generation of probiotics.

    • 2020 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Catherine Shelton of Vanderbilt University used the grant to support her 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 and worked to address this critical gap in knowledge and gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of how the early-life microbiota protects against obesity.

    • 2020 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Alice Solomon of the University of Arizona used her grant 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.

    • 2019 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Erica Kosmerl of The Ohio State University used her grant to research and examine the impact of dairy intake and bifidobacteria on the gut microbiome during infancy.

    • 2019 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Elizabeth Morrison of Indiana University used her grant to research and assess the role of probiotic, B. Infantis on infant gut microbiome.

    • 2018 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Megan Kennedy of the Medical Scientist Training Program at University of Chicago used her grant to take a closer look at whether or not there is a particular time in a person’s 24-hour cycle when probiotics are best able to remain in the gut community.

    • 2018 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Nick Jensen of the University of California Davis doctoral program studied how related types of beneficial bacteria breakdown different carbohydrates in the foods we eat, specifically milk oligosaccharides.

    • 2017 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Caroline Kelsey of the University of Virginia used her grant funds to examine how gut bacteria and food intake influence brain development.

    • 2017 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Yeonwoo Lebovitz of Virginia Tech used the grant to assess how a mother’s gut microbiome can affect and protect their baby’s neurological development.

    • 2016 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Erin Davis of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was granted funds o study of probiotic yogurt consumption during breastfeeding on the immune and microbial composition of the milk, as well as on maternal and infant gut microbiota.

    • 2016 Winner (one of two grants awarded): Haley Chatelaine of The Ohio State University earned the grant to advance the field by using cutting-edge analyses to identify the chemical signature of probiotic yogurt.

    • 2015 Winner: Micah Eimerbrink, Experimental Psychology doctoral candidate at Texas Christian University focusing on Behavioral Neuroscience. He used the funds to collaborate with Dr. Jonathan Oliver’s Kinesiology lab to investigate the use of probiotics to reduce the psychological and physiological indicators of stress in military personnel.

    • 2014 Winner: Amanda Ford, University of Florida, used the grant to investigate the effects of protein fermentation on the human microbiota and on different measures of digestive health both with and without probiotic consumption.

    • 2013 Winner: Kurt Selle, North Carolina State University Functional Genomics doctoral candidate within the Food Science, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science Department. He used the funds to develop technology for studying the adaptation of fermentative microbes to milk, publishing his findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and presenting the results at the 11th International Symposium on Lactic Acid Bacteria as an invited speaker.

    • 2012 Winner: Nicholas Bokulich, doctoral candidate with the Dr. David Mills Research Group at University of California, Davis. He applied the funds towards researching the use of foods as a delivery vector for beneficial bacteria in the human diet. This work led to several publications investigating the microbiome, food production and human health.

    This year’s winners will be selected by a cross-functional panel of experts, including:

    Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., Dairy and Food Culture Technologies Consultant, and Executive Director of the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP)

    Michael D. Gershon, M.D., Professor, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University, Vagelos College of P&S

    Miguel Freitas, Ph.D., Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Danone North America

    Danone will be accepting applications from graduate students starting on December 13, 2022 until February 14, 2023. The winner will be notified on April 3, 2023.

    For additional information and qualification requirements, please refer to the application below. We look forward to reviewing your application!

    *Candidates are encouraged to submit an application for their investigation or study of the gut microbiome, probiotics and yogurt as related to human health. The intent of the grant is not for disease treatment or clinical management; those addressing health and wellness will be prioritized. These can include the study of longevity, growth and development, and performance.


    Danone North America, is awarding two graduate students a grant of $25,000 each. The successful candidates should excel in science and have an interest in studying the gut microbiome, probiotics and yogurt in human health and wellness (the “Field”). Applicants are encouraged to submit a proposal for a study that explores measures of human health and wellness. The grant is not designed for the investigation of disease treatment or clinical management and should focus on health and wellness, long-term health and longevity, growth and development, or performance. Such topics may include the role that probiotics or yogurt play on brain function, growth and development, digestive health, weight management or heart health; and factors, such as foods or nutrients, that influence the gut microbiome.

    *NEW FOR 2022-2023 GRANT: Please note that research cannot employ commercial probiotic strains. This includes strains that are isolated from a commercial product, provided by a commercial culture supplier or are subject of or protected by patent. Publicly available, non-commercial strains are acceptable.

    The award may be applied towards tuition or research-related projects or as otherwise allocated at Danone’s sole discretion. It will be payable directly to the student’s educational institution to support their continued education on related topics during 2023-2024 academic year.

    Each candidate must meet the following requirements:

    • Be an incoming, current and full-time enrolled graduate student, at least 18 years of age, studying in the Field (as defined above) during the 2022-2023 academic year at an accredited U.S. Institution.
    • Be in good standing in the college or university, as well as major program of study. Confirmation letter from department chair, dean or institution's graduate studies, registrar or admissions office required.
    • Be a current U.S. citizen (proof of citizenship is required) or permanent U.S. resident (proof of residency is required).
    • Upload completed application online within the allotted acceptance period December 13, 2022 to February 14, 2023. Includes:
      • Written essays (questions provided below)
      • Official transcript from current institution or immediate past university if an incoming graduate student
      • CV or resume
      • One letter of recommendation received from faculty member or advisor by February 14, 2023. Please have your faculty member or advisor submit letter of recommendation to cdeecken@pollock-pr.com.
    • Utilization of grant funds must begin in the Fall Semester, 2023.

    Student applications will be judged by an external committee based on:

    • Strength of project proposal
    • Relevance and feasibility of the project objectives, methodology and outcome measures
    • Evidence of ability and resources to successfully complete proposed project
    • Value to the Field (as defined above)
    • Academic performance
    • Letter of recommendation

    For any questions regarding the Fellowship, please contact Christina Deecken @ cdeecken@pollock-pr.com

    Please fill in each of the following fields:
    Legal name of applicant:
    Mailing address:
    City, state and zip:
    Mobile Number:
    Other Telephone Number:
    Current status (incoming graduate student or current year):Incoming Graduate StudentCurrent Graduate Student
    Academic institution for graduate studies:
    Research/academic advisor:
    Email for advisor:
    Major/declared focus of study:
    Current academic standing (GPA, Honors, etc.):
    Current awards, scholarships, and fellowships (if applicable):
    How did you hear about the Danone Fellowship Grant program?
    Academic Advisor Signature:
    Applicant Signature:

    Essay Questions:

    1. Please describe your project or research. Maximum 150 words.
    2. Please clearly state the purpose of your study, methodology and outcome measures. If applicable, specify the type of bacteria (genus, species and strain) you intend to study. Maximum 300 words.
    3. Describe the support and resources specific to your grant/field/project you have at your institution, including clinical or laboratory tools, and key advisors or faculty. Maximum 150 words.
    4. Please give us a breakdown of how you will utilize the funds
      Please note: Indirect costs are not addressed or delineated in the Danone Fellowship Grant. Students to discuss this with their graduate studies advisor or office of research.
    5. Describe your experience or the progress you have made in the Field (as defined above). Maximum 150 words.
    6. How will your project advance the study of the gut microbiome, probiotics and yogurt on human health and wellness? Maximum 150 words.
    7. Please tell us how the Grant will help you achieve your professional goals in the Field (as defined above). Maximum 150 words.

    In order for your application to be considered complete, please upload the following documents:

    • Answers to essay questions
    • CV/Resume
    • Official letter from a Dean or institution's registrar or admissions office confirming current enrollment
    • Current (or immediate past) academic transcripts
    • Proof of United States citizenship or permanent residency
    • One letter of recommendation (by February 14, 2023)
      • If you have any problems uploading application due to file size, please email materials directly to cdeecken@pollock-pr.com.

    Application Review and Selection:
    After you submit your application, you will receive an email acknowledgement from Pollock Communications on behalf of Danone.

    Pollock Communications will collect and review all applications upon receipt to ensure they are complete. Incomplete applications will be disqualified. Viable applications will be carefully reviewed by a panel of experts and researchers. Selection of the grant recipient will be determined on Danone’s complete and sole discretion. Danone reserves the right to not share details behind the selection process and to not inform applicants that were not chosen.

    The grant recipient will be informed by April 3, 2023.

    Scholarship Allocation:
    Funds provided by Danone North America, Public Benefit Corporation, are restricted for use either for tuition, or research related projects or as otherwise allocated at Danone's sole discretion. Danone will work directly with each of the grant recipients’ schools to credit $25,000 for 2023.

    No payment will be made until evidence is received that the grant recipients were officially registered at the respective Institution for the 2022-2023 academic year. Payment will be given directly to the school by Danone on behalf of grant recipient in one installment of $25,000. The installment will be paid during Spring Semester 2023. Proof of full-time school attendance and a letter of good standing will be required in order for Danone to transfer the funds.

    If the student chooses not to or, is for any reason, unable to follow-through with their intended academic pursuits in 2023, Danone reserves the right to award the scholarship to another applicant. Recipients of this scholarship are required to provide progress reports each semester on all academic work and achievements for one (1) entire academic year from the time funds are transferred. Specifically, any research projects conducted by the recipient in which scholarship funds are utilized, shall be sent to Danone for review. Should any research result in published content, the recipient must inform Danone at least 60 calendar days before publication. Upon review, Danone reserves the right to be listed as a contributor/supporter to the student researcher.

    Public Disclosure and Public Relations Activities:

    Upon acceptance of the scholarship, the recipient gives the right to Danone North America, including any affiliates or subsidiaries, and its Public Relations agency (Pollock Communications), to use the recipient’s name, image, likeliness (in photographs and video) and detailed academic information on Danone’s online properties and social media channels, in press materials (including, but not limited to: press release, mat release, website, social media outlets), and in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world in perpetuity, without compensation, notification or permission, except where prohibited by law. Additionally, the grant recipient agrees to participate in media interviews regarding the fellowship and their academic pursuits.

    By my signature below, I acknowledge, understand, accept and agree to comply with the information and rules contained in this document.

    • Written statements addressing essay questions
    • CV/Resume

    • Official letter from a Dean or institution's Registrar Office confirming current enrollment

    • Current (and any relevant previous) academic transcripts

    • Proof of United States citizenship or permanent residency