Although children often avoid the worst physical effects of the COVID-19 virus, what could be the long-term effects of the pandemic on child health, development and resilience? Dr. Meghan Azad will join Drs. Candice Odgers and Micheal Kobor in an upcoming CIFAR webinar to discuss the impacts of the pandemic on child health.
Azad Lab PhD student Sarah Turner has received the ISRHML Trainee Expansion Program award to visit Dr. Amy Brown at Swansea University in Wales, UK. Sarah’s project will use qualitative interviews to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down has impacted breastfeeding experiences among Canadian and UK women. During her visit, Sarah will learn from Dr. Brown’s expertise with breastfeeding knowledge translation aimed at public and government audiences. Good luck with this project Sarah and congratulations on your award!
Effective September 1, 2020, Dr. Kozeta Miliku, former post-doctoral fellow in the Azad Lab, is joining the CHILD National Coordinating Centre team at McMaster University as a Senior Research Fellow and CHILD Clinical Science Officer. Dr. Miliku’s new role will involve scientific liaising with research partners and developing the CHILD 12-year-visit protocol. Dr. Miliku has been an integral part of the Azad Lab since 2017, publishing two first-authored manuscripts on fatty acids and human milk oligosaccharides in the CHILD cohort. Congratulations and all the best with this new chapter of life, Kozeta!
It is exciting to see Azad Lab publications being downloaded and cited to support and fuel new research. Recent PhD Student, Dr. Shirin Moossavi’s paper was recognized as one of the most accessed and cited articles in Cell Host and Microbe in 2019. This article explores different maternal and early life factors influencing the human milk microbiota, finding a strong association with mode of feeding (i.e. pumped vs directly at the breast) and milk bacteria. This finding suggests that milk bacteria may originate in the infant mouth and sets the stage for future work on how milk microbiota influence infant health and development.
Azad Lab Postdoc Receives Research Manitoba & Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba Fellowship
Dr. Sarah Reyes was awarded a 2020 Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship by Research Manitoba in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba for her project entitled “Human milk components and the nasal microbiota as causal factors in the prevention of wheezing and ear infections during the first year”. The Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowships support highly qualified postdoctoral trainees to prepare for careers as independent researchers and are awarded to exceptional trainees who significantly increase the productivity of the research program with which they are affiliated. Congratulations Sarah!
COVID-19 has laid bare some of the pitfalls of the relationship between scientific experts and policymakers—but some researchers say there are ways to make it better. Dr. Azad shared her thoughts in this article published in The Scientist, discussing her approach to policymaker engagement in the CHILD Cohort COVID-19 Study, and reflecting on her experience at Canada's 2018 Science Meets Parliament event.
The newest member to the Azad Lab team, Rilwan Azeez, has been awarded a one-year COVID-19 Research Visualization and Automated Analytics training award (VADA). His research will involve the use of datasets to seek the protective or predisposing role of individual immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity. Congratulations Rilwan!
Dr. Azad served on an expert panel convened in May 2019 by the International Scientific Association for Prebiotics and Probiotics (ISAPP) to establish a consensus definition and generate guidelines for developing and testing synbiotics. The diverse panel of experts in consisted of eleven interdisciplinary scientists in the fields of microbiology and microbial ecology, gastrointestinal physiology, immunology, food science, nutritional biochemistry, and host metabolism. Their definition of synbiotic is: “A mixture, comprising live microorganisms and substrate(s) selectively utilized by host microorganisms, that confers a health benefit on the host.” Their report has now been published in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
Research co-led by Azad Lab members Kelsey Fehr and Shirin Moosavi was featured on this week's cover of Cell Host & Microbe, and in an accompanying commentary by Noel Mueller & Moira Differding (Johns Hopkins University). The cover image depicts a breastfeeding mother-infant dyad, and the sharing of microbes between them. The artistic ‘Tree of Life’ imagery is a popular way for mothers to share “brelfies” (breastfeeding selfies). This version includes microbes, highlighting their role as a key bioactive component of human milk. In the CHILD Cohort Study, we found that certain bacteria co-occur in mothers’ breast milk their infants’ stool, suggesting that microbes in milk may transfer to the infant and influence their developing microbiota. The research was a collaboration with Brett Finlay and Stuart Turvey at UBC. Cover Art was created by AllerGen NCE's Marshall Beck.
Are fewer babies being born preterm during the pandemic? The Azad Lab’s post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Merilee Brockway speaks with Simi Sara from CKNW Vancouver about the International Perinatal Outcomes during the Pandemic (iPOP) Study. This international collaborative study will establish if the preterm birth rate has dropped during the pandemic and then look at factors that may be contributing to this trend.
Azad Lab News