Grant Program

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Young Investigator Grant for Probiotics Research (YIGPRO) is to contribute to the advancement of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota research in the United States for human health applications.

Who Should Apply

This program seeks to support the best science that addresses the grant objectives. Attempts will be made to support young investigators who do not yet have independent funding (such as NIH R series awards that are likely to progress to RO1 research awards), Young investigators who are senior fellows with a committed faculty appointment or early faculty members within a maximum of 5 consecutive years of his/her first faculty appointment (appointments must be in the United States) are eligible. Applicants must be interested in understanding the health benefits of probiotics or microbiota and the relationship between probiotics, gastrointestinal microbiota and the body. Candidates must be part of an established research program with the capacity to do research on microbiota and its role in health and disease. Applicants are limited to one submission per investigator.

Grant Program Objectives

  • To stimulate innovative research relevant to the field of gastrointestinal microbiota in the United States
  • To impact academic and career development of young investigators in the United States and attract them into the field of probiotics and gastrointestinal microbiota
  • To provide preliminary data for future funding from NIH and other funding sources

Grant Research Focus

The focus of the grant is to improve understanding of mechanisms by which dietary and nutrition intervention with potential probiotics, including beneficial commensals, interact with the host and gastrointestinal microbiota to improve host physiology and function. Basic research can involve bacteria, cell lines, derived cells or animal models, but does not involve clinical studies in human subjects. However, it can include research on human specimens and ad hoc studies on existing cohorts.

Proposals on dietary and nutritional approaches to improve physiological function and health status are preferred over proposals on disease pathogenesis, drugs and therapies.

Research cannot employ commercial probiotic strains, but publicly available, non-commercial strains are acceptable.

Unacceptable sources of strains to be researched:
  • Isolated from a commercial product (by you or other academic)
  • Provided by a commercial culture supplier, for example DuPont, Chr. Hansens or Lallemand
  • Strains that are the subject of or protected by a patent
Acceptable sources of strains:
  • An international culture collection, such as ATCC. One approach is to use type strains for a given species, but still verify if there are commercial restrictions on use.
  • Isolates, which have not been commercialized or the subject of protected intellectual property, made by you or other academic labs from the environment (plants, soil, etc), animals or humans

Animal Testing: All experiments involving animals are subject to the following strict conditions:

  •  A letter of approval from the appropriate competent authority is required and should be attached to the application form. In case the respective approvals are still missing at the project review meeting, the Selection Committee might make its own rather conservative assessment on ethics. Funding will always be under the condition of formal ethics approval.
  • The 3 Rs of Reduction, Refinement and Replacement are taken into account in the design and implementation of the animal experiment.
  • Considering the focus of the grant (to improve physiological function and health status) research with NHP-models, or animal models with discomfort will not be funded.

Grant Information and Maximum Funding Amount

The annual grant amount is $50,000 per grant recipient with a maximum of 10% of this amount dedicated to overhead costs. Two grants will be funded in 2022, with each given to different institutions in the United States. Funds may be used for technical support and supplies. Principal investigator salaries and travel are not funded. Equipment is rarely funded and only when it is critical to the project, is not available through the institution’s core facilities, and receives approval in advance from The Global Probiotics Council.  Under exceptional circumstances a second year will be considered on a competitive basis.

Funding will run from OCTOBER 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.


The US Probiotics Scientific Board Grant Selection Committee

The Grant Selection Committee of the US Probiotic Scientific Board is comprised of expert scientists in the fields of gastroenterology, immunology, microbiology, infectious disease, pediatrics, nutrition, and probiotics.  These individuals will provide a scientific review of all applications. The grants will be awarded at the sole discretion of the Selection Committee.

The Grant Selection Committee members include:

W. Allan Walker, MD – Chair
Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition, Professor of Pediatrics,
Harvard Medical School
Director, Mucosal Immunology Laboratory,
Massachusetts General Hospital

Richard Guerrant, MD
Director, Center for Global Health
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health

Balfour Sartor, MD
Director, Multidisciplinary Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Treatment
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

James Versalovic, MD, PhD
Milton J. Finegold Professor, Pathology & Immunology
Baylor College of Medicine
Pathologist-in-Chief Director, Texas Children’s Microbiome Center
Texas Children’s Hospital


Previous Awardees

2020/2021 (Combined grant years due to Covid-19 Pandemic)

Using Dietary Fiber to Harvest Novel Probiotics from the Human Gut Microbiota
Elizabeth Bess, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of California at Irvine

Improving Intestinal Motility via Probiotic Bacteria Encoding β-glucuronidases that Process Seratonin Glucuronide
Aadra Bhatt, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Elucidating the Role of Dietary Cysteine and Bifidobacterium dentium y-glutamylcsteine in Suppressing Ractive Oxygen Species and Inflammation
Melinda Engevik, PhD
Texas Children’s Hospital

A Novel Probiotic for the Promotion of Physical Exercise and Fitness
Aleksandar Kostic, PhD
Assistant Investigator
Joslin Diabetes Center


Identification of Novel Probiotic Species that Maintain Gut Fitness
Andrea Reboldi, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Modulating Microbiome Memory to Promote Metabolic Health
Christoph Thaiss, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Pennsylvania


Nutritional Modulation of the Commensal Microbiome and Intestinal Antiviral Immunity
Megan Baldridge, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Washington University in St. Louis

Investigating Microbial-Mediated Bile Acid Metabolism Influences on Growth, Intestinal Permeability, and Susceptibility to Infection During Malnutrition
Luther Bartelt, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Microbial Interactions for Control of Metabolic Health
Amanda Ramer-Tait, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Systems to Probiotics: Modeling Microbial Adjuvants for Cancer Immunotherapy
Julia Oh, PhD
Assistant Professor
The Jackson Laboratory

A Mouse Model for Identification of Novel Probiotics from the Human Gut
Noah Palm, PhD
Assistant Professor
Yale University

Modulating the Bile Acid Pool with iBAMs and Nutraceuticals
Jason Ridlon, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The role of gut microbiota in IL-22 mediated resistance against Clostridium difficile
Nobuhiko Kamada, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology
University of Michigan

Deconstructing Fermented Foods for the Next Generation of Probiotics
Peter Turnbaugh, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
University of California, San Francisco

Bacterial Properties to Strengthen Colonic Epithelial Integrity
Kristine Kuhn, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Division of Rheumatology
University of Colorado School of Medicine

Impact of maternal high fat diet on the gut microbiota and Th17 axis in offspring
Julie Mirpuri-Hathiramani, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

A high-throughput pipeline to find probiotics that inhibit select gut microbes
Lawrence David, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
Duke University

Effects of Dietary Fatty Acids on Bifodobacterial Growth, Gene Expression, and Metabolite Production
Angela Zivkovic, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition
University of California, Davis

Next-generation Probiotic Discovery for Intestinal Inflammatory and Motility Disorders Using “Humanized” Gnotobiotic Mice
Neelendu Dey, MD
Instructor in Medicine and Gastroenterology
Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Bacterial Metabolites Mediate Effect of Gut Microbiota on Gastrointestinal Motility
Purna Kashyap, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Elucidating the Role of the Intestinal Microbiome in Protein-Energy Undernutrition
Geoffrey Preidis, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Pediatric Resident
Baylor College of Medicine

Connecting Interpersonal Microbial Variation to Drug Efficacy
Andrew Goodman, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbial Pathogenesis
Yale University

Augmenting Mucosal Immunity to Prevent Candida albicans Infections
Andrew Koh, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatrics and Microbiology
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Host Responses to Mucus Layer Colonization by Commensal Microbiota Species
Eric Martens, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Michigan Medical School

Interactions of the Yeast, Candida albicans, with the Bacterial Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease
Suzanne Noble, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

The Role of Intestinal Microbiota in Increased Levels of Fecal Serine Proteases and Intestinal Permeability Using Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a Model
Ian Carroll, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A Gene-to-Molecule Approach to Discovering New Antibiotics from Probiotic Bacteria
Michael Fischbach, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California, San Francisco

Protective Role of Baker’s Yeast in Colonic Inflammation and Cancer
Xinhua Chen, PhD
Instructor in Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Medical School

The Influence of Novel Oligopeptides Produced by Transgenic Bacteria on Intestinal Injury due to C. difficile Infection
Glynis Kolling, PhD
Research Associate
Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases
University of Virginia

Probiotics Protects from Radiation Induced Intestinal Injury: Mechanisms of Action
Matthew Ciorba, MD
Division of Gastroenterology
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Antimicrobial Peptide Mediated Alterations of the Gut Microbiome in Nod2/IL-10 Deficient Mice
Ajay Gulati, MD
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill