Danone gift supports probiotic research

Probiotics research pioneer Gregor Reid will hold the first research chair in Human Microbiology and Probiotics at Lawson Health Research Institute thanks to a $7-million donation from international yogurt maker Danone Group.


The support – the largest private research investment for St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation – establishes a new research chair in Human Microbiology and Probiotics at Lawson, the research arm of St. Joseph’s Health Care, London.  


Reid, a professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in addition to being a Lawson scientist, has been studying probiotics for more than 25 years and has become a leading advocate for the role of so-called good bacteria in human health.


Bernard Hours, co-chief operating officer of Danone made the announcement Friday as part of the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation’s Signature Speaker Series event, held May 22, 2009.


“At Danone, we believe that economic and social progress go hand in hand,” says Hours. “This investment will support groundbreaking research to help people around the world achieve health and a greater quality of life.”  


As the inaugural chair, Reid will lead a team of scientists to develop probiotic and prebiotic-based formulations in vitro and in human studies and collaborate with researchers and industry personnel to convert research into product development.


“This support provides Danone, St. Joseph’s and Lawson Health Research Institute with an opportunity to make a substantial impact on the lives of people around the world,” says Reid.