The AGA Research Foundation and The Dannon Co. presented the 2017 AGA-Dannon Gut Microbiome in Health Award to Dr. Gary D. Wu for his research on microbiota in the human gut. Wu’s project is titled “Equol Production as a Model for the Impact of Diet on the Metabolome of the Gut Microbiota in Humans.”  He is on the faculty at Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

“The resources provided by this award will allow us to investigate models for small molecule generation by the gut microbiota that influence the plasma metabolome of the host,” Wu said. “These models will be particularly important to understand the manner by which diet serves as a substrate for the gut microbiota to produce metabolites that ultimately have an impact on human health.”

“The impact of the gut microbiome on human health is far-reaching, from benefits to our digestive and immune system to playing a key role as the core of our mind body connection, which is why investments to better understand this unique ecosystem are so critical,” said Miguel Freitas, Dannon’s vice president of scientific affairs. “Dannon has a long legacy of supporting education and innovative research around probiotics, nutrition and health, and we’re pleased to build on that with this new microbiome-related award in partnership with AGA.”

With this award, Wu will receive a one-year, $20,000 research initiative grant to support his team’s continued exploration into the microbiome, which will have tremendous impact on the future of health care. 

Wu is a long-time AGA leader, most recently serving as chair of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education. Dr. Wu is a Professor of Medicine, Ferdinand G. Weisbrod Chair in gastroenterology, and Co-Director of the PennCHOP Microbiome Program at Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.