Dr. Dash, born in Odisha, came to USA in 1979 and earned a doctorate in nutrition. Currently living in Edina, Minnesota, he embodies the “American Dream” as an innovator, entrepreneur, community leader and philanthropist. His vision and relentless efforts led a little known probiotic company in seventies to an industry worth $35 billion today.
Probiotics are generally regarded as a good bacteria for digestive health and immune functions. Dr. Dash pioneered the idea of commercializing probiotics while he was working as the director of the department of Food and Drugs at South Dakota State. At the time, he discovered a probiotic product that was licensed as a drug to treat E.coli infection in pigs. Dr. Dash felt it had the potential to be a good antidote for digestive health and immune function for humans. Subsequently he established UAS Laboratories, a leading probiotic company, in Minneapolis in 1979.
“The ﬁnancial challenges and inability to hire probiotic scientists and executives” slowed the growth, according to Dash. Today, he says with pride, the company is a global leader with presence in 55 countries including USA and India. When asked about future research and development in probiotics, Dash said he is funding innovation centers and endowed chairs at IIT- Bhubaneswar, India and South Dakota State University, USA.
Dash says “helping others and giving to the have-nots” means a lot to him. He recounts a “satisfying” endeavor of helping hundreds of students for higher studies in the USA.
The adoption of his village and helping build shelter homes, a school, a micro bank and temple sets a ﬁne example of corporate social responsibility. As for his leadership in the local community, Dash regularly supports activities ﬁnancially to preserve and promote Indian heritage and culture in the US. Examples include Odisha Society of America, Indian Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Historical Society and Hindu Society of Minnesota among others. Dr. Dash has served in various roles including the past chairman of Hindu Society of Minnesota and is very actively involved in Hindu Society projects today. Dr. Dash was honored as the Distinguished Alumni of South Dakota State University on October 24, 2014. He was also awarded an Honorary D.Sc. by Utkal University in February 2015 for his contribution to probiotic research, philanthropy and love for Odisha.