Scientists honoured for research on gut microbiome and lactic acid bacteria

Two leading scientists in the fields of human microbiota and lactic acid bacterial metabolism and genetics have been selected for the 2019 Danisco Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award.

The Danisco Foundation has awarded the 2019 Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award. The awardees are leading scientists in their fields recognised by the Danisco Foundation for scientific excellence and a remarkable record of achievement in advancing science and technology relevant to the future of food, nutrition and health.

This year’s medalists are:

Danisco Microbiome Science Award:
Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of TwinsUK at King’s College, London – selected for his outstanding work over the last 30 years since founding TwinsUK, the UK twins registry, which is the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information on a cohort worldwide. Professor Spector’s research in recent years has focused on the microbiome and its relationship with health, leading to the world’s largest personalized nutrition study of its kind. The nomination recognizes Professor Spector as an international pioneer and leader in the microbiome field.

Danisco Science Excellence Medal:
Pascal Hols, Professor of Microbiology at the Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium – selected for his fundamental and applied research on genetics and metabolism of lactic acid bacteria. His research encompasses carbon metabolism, cell wall biosynthesis and metabolic adaptation to environmental factors, for which a multidisciplinary range of genomics/post-genomics, biochemical, and biophysical approaches have been used.

The medalists received their awards during a ceremony held yesterday at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ Campus in Brabrand, Denmark. During the ceremony, each recipient presented their research to scientists and leaders of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“The contributions that Professor Pascal Hols and Professor Tim Spector have made to enhance our understanding of lactic acid bacterial genetics and metabolism and the microbiome, respectively, are among the finest examples of scientific advancements in the fields of health, food and nutrition. We are honored to recognize their outstanding scientific accomplishments with the Danisco Science Excellence Medal and Microbiome Science Award,” said Angela Naef, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ global leader for technology and innovation and Danisco Foundation board member.

The original awards were founded in 2002 by the Danisco Foundation to help improve food products, notably industrially produced foods. With time and technological advancements, the scope of the awards has expanded to food, nutrition and health. The Danisco Foundation itself was established in 1981 and provides funding and grants to support predominantly food science and research.