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U of I Graduate Student wins Dannon Fellowship

Erin Davis

Champaign, Ill – Erin Davis, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded the 2016-2017 Dannon Gut Microbiome, Yogurt, and Probiotics Fellowship Grant. Chosen from a pool of more than 120 applicants, Davis is one of two students selected nationally to receive the fellowship.   

Davis is pursuing her doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, with a concurrent enrollment in the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Her research is centered on the effects of early life nutrition on the infant gut microbiota, immune development, and early childhood growth. “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” says Davis. 

Since 2012, Dannon has granted $150,000 to scientists making strides in the interdisciplinary fields of biology, health services, nutrition, yogurt and probiotics. The fellowship grant was originally created to help fund students’ independent and unique investigations looking at the diverse health impact of yogurt and probiotics on the human gut microbiome. 

Miguel Freitas, PhD, vice president of Scientific Affairs at Dannon says, “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. We congratulate Erin Davis as she joins the ranks of the elite scientific explorers who have advanced our understanding of how yogurt and probiotics affect human health.” 

Ken Vickery, director of External Fellowships in the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, shares his enthusiasm: “Dannon exhibits outstanding corporate citizenship by investing in graduate research. Public health depends on advances in nutritional sciences, and Erin’s capturing Dannon’s attention and winning the company’s fellowship demonstrates her promise as a leading young scholar in this field.” 

More information about the Dannon Gut Microbiome, Yogurt, and Probiotics Fellowship Grant can be found at: 

Search the Graduate College’s Fellowship Finder at and visit our website at for resources.

Story by Enrique Rodarte.