CALS doctoral student earns $25,000 fellowship from Dannon Yogurt

Yogurt Grant - 012815 Ford_Amanda photo 2014

Amanda Ford

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences doctoral student has won a $25,000 fellowship to continue studying probiotics.

Amanda Ford, conducting research under the guidance of Wendy Dahl, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was awarded the fellowship by the Dannon Company.

“Ford’s strong interest in yogurt and probiotics and commitment to advancing human health through scientific research distinguished her from a pool of well-qualified and talented candidates,” the Dannon Company said in a news release.

Now in its third year, the Dannon Yogurt and Probiotics Fellowship Program supports the next generation of scientists who have an interest in researching the functional benefits of eating yogurt and probiotics.

“The study of yogurt and probiotics is one of the most exciting and rapidly emerging areas of nutritional scientific exploration, and there is still much to uncover about the functional benefits of yogurt and probiotics on the body,” said Dr. Miguel Freitas, vice president of health affairs at The Dannon Company. “With this fellowship, Ford will be able to focus her efforts on investigating the effects of protein fermentation on the human microbiota and on different measures of digestive health both with and without probiotic consumption.”

Since starting her doctoral studies in the fall of 2012, Ford has studied the effects of probiotics. She has also examined how changes in gut microbiota can be critical to human health and disease.

“Given my concentration in nutritional sciences and strong interest in the field of food science I plan to expand my knowledge with coursework and practical experiences specifically focused on fermented dairy products,” Ford said. “My dream is to start a career in the field of probiotics and fermented foods – emphasizing promotion of health and functional benefits – and I am grateful for the opportunity Dannon has provided. This fellowship grant will help me achieve this goal and demonstrates Dannon’s dedication to education and research.”

Ford was chosen by a panel of judges that includes Freitas; Mary Ellen Sanders, a dairy and food culture technologies consultant and executive science officer of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics; Dr. Daniel Merenstein, associate professor and director of research programs at the Department of Family Medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center and Muriel Derrien, senior scientist at Danone Nutricia Research.


By Brad Buck, 352-294-3303,

Source: Amanda Ford,

To see the Dannon Company news release on Ford’s fellowship, check this:




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Posted: January 28, 2015

Category: Agriculture, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Teaching, Work & Life
Tags: CALS, College Of Agricultural And Life Sciences, Probiotics

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