The Dannon Company is pleased to announce Nicholas Bokulich from the University of California, Davis as the first recipient of the Dannon Probiotics Fellowship program. The Dannon Probiotics Fellowship Program was created to support the education of a student who excels in science and shows a strong interest in the field of probiotics. Probiotics have become a main focus of research for food scientists in the last decade. Yet, there are very few scholarships and grants available to help education in the field. As a company leading the way in probiotic research and education, The Dannon Company hopes this Fellowship will help instill enthusiasm for probiotics in the next generation of scientists.
"The study of probiotics is rapidly emerging and Nicholas stood out due to his understanding of the field and the opportunities for advancing probiotic applications to health," said Dr. Miguel Freitas, Director of Health Affairs at The Dannon Company. "For students like Nicholas who are planning to further their education in probiotics, the Dannon Probiotics Fellowship program is an exciting opportunity to not only receive educational support, but also have access to some of the leading minds in this arena."
Selected from a pool of qualified and talented candidates, Nicholas Bokulich was chosen due to his strong interest in probiotics and commitment to advancing health through scientific research. As a doctoral candidate with the Mills Research Group at University of California, Davis, he focuses on the use of foods as a delivery vector for beneficial bacteria in the human diet.
Bokulich's research stood out among the applicants, comprising three main themes: microbiology of fermented foods, the microbiology of the human gut (particularly the downstream impact of probiotic and functional food consumptions), and the development of molecular and bioinformatics tools to analyze and describe these systems of microbial communities.
Bokulich will receive one year's tuition (up to $25,000, payable to UC Davis) to support his continued academic pursuits in the field of probiotics. He will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the Danone Research Center in France where he will have the opportunity to network and learn from over 300 top scientists conducting studies on probiotics, physiology and nutrition, sensorial analysis and consumer behavior as well as product prototyping.
"I'm honored to be a Dannon Probiotics Fellow and am excited about benefiting both academically and professionally," said Nicholas Bokulich. "The fellowship will augment my research and provide me with insight into a company leading probiotics research."
As this year's fellowship recipient, Bokulich was chosen by a panel of judges that included: Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders, Dairy and Food Culture Technologies Consultant, and Executive Director of the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP); Daniel Merenstein, MD, Associate Professor and Director of Research Programs at the Department of Family Medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center; Dr. Patrick Veiga, Senior Scientist, The Danone Research Center; and Dr. Miguel Freitas, Director of Health Affairs, The Dannon Company.