Dr. Gregor Reid is a Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Surgery at Western University, and the Endowed Chair in Human Microbiome and Probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute.
Dr. Gregor Reid’s research primarily focuses on beneficial microbes, and he is one of the world’s foremost experts on probiotics (microorganisms that produce many health benefits). To date, he has developed novel probiotic therapies used by several million people around the world. He has held 29 patents, published over 560 peer-reviewed publications, in highly prestigious academic journals including Science, Lancet, JAMA, PNAS, PLoS One, Nature and Nature Reviews Microbiology; he has given over 650 talks in 54 countries, and has a Google Scholar H factor of 100 with almost 35,000 citations.
Dr. Reid was instrumental in the establishment of Western Heads East (WHE), an experiential learning program based out of Western University. The program launched probiotic yogurt in Africa, and was introduced to rural communities to help address the malnutrition and HIV/AIDS crises in the continent. Since the inception of the program with one yogurt kitchen operated by ‘yogurt mamas’ in Mwanza, Tanzania, the program has expanded to reach over 260,000 people daily in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. In 2016, the program rebranded to “Fermented Food for Life” and along with partners, Heifer International, Yoba For Life, and Joma Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, they received a $1.45 million grant from the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, a joint initiative of Global Affairs Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Yoba-for-Life, a Dutch not-for-profit foundation had previously developed a novel sachet known as Yoba (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Streptococcus thermophilus) that could produce up to 100L of probiotic-rich yogurt for under $1. New sachets, called Fiti, containing Dr. Reid’s probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Streptococcus thermophilus in dried form, were developed under the new grant. The Fiti sachets have revitalized the now numerous Mwanza kitchens and expanded to many other sites in the Mbeya area through Heifer International. Fiti is also produced in Kenya, while Yoba sachets are used in Mbeya and Uganda.
Since chairing the United Nations - World Health Organization Expert Panel and Working Group on Probiotics in 2001-2, he has been recognized internationally for his work. He was the President of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (and current Board member), the leading organization on the science of these areas. In 2010, he and Bob Gough received the AUCC Scotiabank Prize on behalf of Western University for the Western Heads East program: the first time the university has been given this award for internationalization. That same year, Dr. Reid was the recipient of the Hellmuth Prize, the highest research honour conferred by The University of Western Ontario. Other awards have followed including the Distinguished Alumni Award presented by New Zealand’s leading institution, Massey University, an Honorary Doctorate in Biology from Orebro University in Sweden, and appointment to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Having helped acquire Canada’s largest ever donation for microbiology, a $7 million donation for his chair position, his status as a global leader was recognized by his election in 2016 to the Royal Society of Canada, an honour bestowed upon Canada’s distinguished scholars, artists and scientists, since the establishment of the society as Canada’s National Academy in 1883. In 2017 he was awarded the highest honour of the Canadian Society for Microbiologists for Career achievement, and in 2019 Western University’s highest honour as Distinguished Professor.
Professor Reid will be retiring from Western University in July 2020 and is therefore not taking on any more students.
Professional and Academic Experience
|1983 - 1990||Assistant and Associate Professor of Surgery (Urology), University of Toronto|
|1990 - 1995||Director of Research Services, Western University|
|1996 - present||Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Western University|
|1996 - present||Assistant Director, Lawson Health Research Institute|
Research Interest Area
I am interested in how beneficial microbes, especially bacteria, contribute to health.
The use of probiotics, as dried or food forms, is designed to help restore and maintain a healthy or homeostatic state. I am interested in how this works and who it might benefit the most. For the latter, I believe that effective concepts and products must reach the most needy, not simply those with most money.
I also believe in empowerment of everyone, so that progress can be made in whatever research project we undertake.
Research areas: Microbiome and probiotics, Women’s health, Environmental influences on health, and Genitourinary systems, also probiotic influences on the gut, breast, heart and use of probiotics to detoxify environmental pollutants.