Photo credit: Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
From crafting a global definition of probiotics to developing novel therapies used by millions, Dr. Gregor Reid has significantly advanced our knowledge of how beneficial microbes, especially bacteria, contribute to health. Recognizing his role as a world leader in probiotics research, Dr. Reid has now been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada.
The Royal Society of Canada was established in 1883 as Canada’s National Academy of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists. With over 2,000 fellows, the primary objective of the Society is to promote learning and research through its three Academies – the Academy of Arts and Humanities, the Academy of Social Sciences and the Academy of Science. Dr. Reid has been elected by his peers to the Life Sciences division of the Academy of Science.
“Being elected to the Royal Society of Canada is a huge honour and a recognition that the concepts of probiotics and beneficial microbes, and the work we are doing, are appreciated by distinguished Canadians,” said Dr. Reid, Endowed Chair in Human Microbiome and Probiotics at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Surgery at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, provide health benefits to their host. Dr. Reid’s research in probiotics has made a global impact. He has held 28 patents, published 473 peer-reviewed papers and given over 560 talks in 54 countries.
In addition to his current role as Director of the Canadian Centre for Human Microbiome and Probiotics Research, located at Lawson in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. Reid has previously acted as President for the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. In 2001 and 2002, he chaired a United Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Panel and Working Group on Probiotics.
Dr. Reid is especially interested in how his research can benefit those in need. He helped to establish Western Heads East, a Western University program that has established community kitchens in Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, and through partnerships has expanded this in Uganda to reach over 40,000 people each day. The community kitchens are owned and operated mostly by local women and youth where they produce a probiotic yogurt that helps counter malnutrition, side effects of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and enhances immunity. The yogurt was developed by Dr. Reid and Dr. Sharareh Hekmat of Western’s Brescia University College.
“My research was not mainstream until very recently, so being inducted to the Society signifies that they recognize what I have achieved first and foremost,” said Dr. Reid, “but I hope my appointment helps to further bring the concepts of beneficial microbes to the forefront of research.”