Gregor Reid one of Canada’s Stars in Global Health

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gregor Reid's, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, project "Using locally sourced probiotic food to reduce levels of potent environmental toxins" is one of 83 bold innovations to improve global health which received $100,000 seed funding from Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada.

The Grand Challenges Canada "Stars in Global Health" program seeks breakthrough and affordable innovations that could transform the way disease is treated in the developing world - innovations that may benefit the health of developed world citizens as well. Reid's plan to use special yogurt to offset pesticides, won out in a competition with 451 applications. Reid was in Africa when the announcement was made.

Reid plans to use special yogurts formulated to offset the harm to health caused by heavy metals, pesticides and other toxics in food (Africa). Between 2006-2009 in Nairobi, only 17 per cent of the total maize sampled and 5 per cent of feed was fit for human and animal consumption respectively. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Western University researchers have developed novel yogurts containing a bacteria that, in the stomach, sequesters certain toxins and heavy metals and degrades some pesticides.

Of the 83 grants announced, 50 are given to innovators in 15 low- and middle-income nations worldwide and 33 to Canadian-originated projects, to be implemented in a total of 30 countries throughout the developing world.

"Innovation powers development leading to better health and more jobs. I feel proud that Canada, through Grand Challenges Canada, has supported almost 300 bold ideas to date in our Stars in Global Health program," said Dr. Peter A. Singer, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. "This is one of the largest pipelines of innovations in global health in the world today."

Click here to watch a video about the project.