Dr Pramod Gopal is Science Group Leader at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research where he leads team of scientists in department of Food Nutrition and Health. His current research interests include understanding of the role of gut microbiota in gastrointestinal and ‘psychological health ( gut-brain axis), developing ingredients and functional foods and design of human clinical trials for proving efficacy, milk and plant derived oligosaccharides in pediatric nutrition. Before joining NZ Institute for Plant and Food Research Pramod worked as a Principal Research Scientist at Fonterra Research and Development Center where he initiated, and established and led Fonterra’s R&D programme in the field of probiotics. This research programme produced both excellent science (over 50 peer reviewed publications with 2 acquiring ‘citation classic’ status) and significant commercial impact. Two probiotic strains, DR10TM and DR20TM, discovered and developed through this programme are internationally well known and have been successfully commercialized as food and supplement ingredient in many markets. Pramod’s research has been well-recognized internationally. He was invited by WHO/FAO to be part of a panel of experts to define and set guidelines for usage of ‘probiotics’ in food applications. He has served on industry advisory board of International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and Scientific Advisory Board of International Probiotic Society. He also serves on the editorial board of International Dairy Journal. In New Zealand, his contribution to the probiotic field was recognized when he was named as one of the top ten agri-innovators of NZ in 2013 by Primary Magazine.
Pramod received his PhD in Biochemistry from University of Otago, Dunedin. He spent four years as a post-doctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley in US before returning to New Zealand.