The latest research on human milk fatty acids recently published by Dr. Miliku, Dr. Azad and colleagues has been profiled in the latest issue of "SPLASH! Milk Science Update", by the International Milk Genomics Consortium. The title of the piece is: "Genes, Diet, Environment: A Host of Factors Influence Human Milk Fatty Acids", and features extensive discussion of our research and an interview with Dr. Azad.
From the article, which can be accessed here: "Fatty acids are the most variable macronutrient in human milk. So variable, in fact, that researchers believe each mother produces her own unique milk fatty acid signature. Unfortunately, not all fatty acid signatures are optimal for infant growth and development. Decades of research have demonstrated that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA), is necessary to optimize the growth and development of infant neural functions. DHA also happens to be one of the most variable fatty acids in human milk, which means many mothers produce milk with concentrations that might not meet infant developmental requirements."
Enhanced exchange of knowledge and skills at the Azad Lab, thanks to the ISRHML Trainee Expansion Program - next deadline Dec. 15th!
The Azad Lab is currently participating in two exciting exchange visits sponsored by the Trainee Expansion Program (TEP) of the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML),
Dr. Kozeta Miliku, post-doctoral fellow in the Azad Lab, has recently had the opportunity to advance her genetic/genomic research skills in the lab of Dr. Qingling Duan at Queen's University (Kingston, ON).
Dr. Anuradha Ravi, researcher at the Quadram Institute (Norfolk, UK), is currently spending time in the Azad Lab learning about human milk research and sharing her expertise in metagenomics of microbial communities. As part of her visit, she has been invited to present her work at the National Microbiology Laboratory Bioinformatics Working Group.
Many thanks to the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation, ISHRML and TEP for creating these exciting opportunities for knowledge exchange, trainee development and lab cross-fertilization! The next deadline for TEP is coming up December 15th. Check out this link to apply!
Dr. Azad contributes expertise to invited panel in Washington DC, scanning evidence on nutrient content and health benefits of breast milk
As part of the activity "Scanning for New Evidence on the Nutrient Content of Human Milk: A Model for the Derivation of Age-Specific Nutrient Requirements", Dr, Meghan Azad contributed expertise as part of a committee formed at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in Washington, DC (November 7, 2019).
The goals of this activity are: "To conduct a literature search and evidence scan of the peer-reviewed published literature on the nutrient content and volume of human milk as an indicator of infant nutritional requirements. The committee will develop pre-specified criteria to characterize nutrient levels in human milk and to identify characteristics of the nutritional quality of human milk in relation to infant requirements to support normal growth and development."
More information about this meeting can be found by clicking HERE.
The Azad Lab is pleased to announce the publication of Origins of human milk microbiota: new evidence and arising questions by Dr. Shirin Moossavi and Dr. Meghan B. Azad in the journal Gut Microbes.
From the paper: "Milk microbiota is a hot research topic in the field of developmental origins of health and disease. Building on earlier studies, our recent findings shed new light on the composition and determinants of the milk microbiota, and raise new research questions about the origins, function and analysis of milk bacteria."
Link to the paper: https://doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2019.1667722
Azad Lab team member Sarah Turner hosts information booth promoting breastfeeding education curriculum for Manitoba schools
As part of a knowledge translation project ("Stakeholder engagement to inform strategies for improving breasteeding education in Manitoba schools"), PhD student Sarah Turner and colleagues (and babies!) hosted an information booth today at the Science Teachers Association of Manitoba Professional Development day. The goal of the next phase of this project is to create breastfeeding curriculum resources for Manitoba and/or adapt resources developed in other provinces. Great work Sarah, and thanks to everyone who helped, including Angela and baby Bennett (pictured), as well as Michelle La for her work on this project!
As always, the Azad Lab had a great time at the 15th annual Children's Health Research Days, held in Winnipeg from Oct. 22-24, contributing several posters and an oral presentation to the proceedings. At the closing gala dinner, Shreyas Kumbhare (third from left) was awarded a Silver medal for his poster concerning his PhD work on differences in the microbiome between Indian and Finnish children, in collaboration with Dr. Erika Isolauri, Dr. Seppo Salminen and others. Congratulations, Shreyas!
The Azad Lab was very well-represented "down under" with three exciting posters presented by Dr. Azad, Dr. Miliku and colleagues, on breast milk oligosaccharides, effects of maternal artificial sweetener consumption on infant weight gain, and new strategies to reduce peanut allergy in breastfed infants. Dr. Azad also presented recent CHILD study data in an oral session (see title slide below). Their work contributed to a growing presence of breastmilk and breastfeeding research at DOHaD, which is sure to be well-reflected at the next DOHaD meeting, to be held in Vancouver, Oct. 16-19, 2021. Great work!
Sarah Turner, PhD student in the Azad Lab, has been upgraded to an oral presentation at Child Health Research Days. In order to be selected, her abstract was one of the top two highest scoring abstracts submitted by DEVOTION trainees.
She will present her research, entitled: Infant feeding, human milk polyunsaturated fatty acids and child behaviour at age 5 years: preliminary results from the longitudinal CHILD birth cohort study in Session 4: Transdisciplinary Research on the Developmental Origins of Health: From Biology to Policy from 4-4:15 pm on October 24th, 2019.
Great work, Sarah!
Sarah Turner, PhD Student in the Azad Lab, publishes an editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press for National Breastfeeding Awareness week
From the editorial:
"Many of us know of the health-promoting qualities of breast milk and how it contributes to lifelong infant health, in addition to maternal health. In Canada, 90 per cent of women initiate breastfeeding, but only about 25 per cent are able to continue with exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended duration of six months."
Here is a link to the editorial:
Congratulations to Sarah on her publication and dedication to breastfeeding awareness.
As part of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, a new invited post by Dr. Azad and Dr. Brockway, edited by Dr. Shreyas Kumbhare, appeared on the blog Science for Society, on the theme of "Why Breastfeeding Matters to Everyone". The post has already generated considerable activity online!
Here is a link to the blog post: https://www.scienceforsociety.online/post/breastfeeding-matters-to-everyone
Azad Lab News