Elle Canada asked Dr. Azad, who was awarded the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Emerging Leaders Award – a category of the annual Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards – to share the most worthwhile insights they’ve gained from a mentor. Dr. Azad mentions that one of the most important benefits is a network, saying "This is so important. Personal introductions to key groups and colleagues can be priceless." To someone looking to find their ideal mentor, she says "Don’t feel shy about approaching someone, but also don’t take it personally if they are not able to commit. If you can be introduced through a mutual connection, that always helps. Also, I think the best mentorship is bidirectional, so think about what you can offer them too!” Read her other advice on essential career skills here!
Now in its 12th year, CHILD has produced over 100 scientific publications with breakthrough findings that have been featured by global media outlets. The Azad Lab's breastmilk research work has shown that the way breastmilk reaches the baby is important. “Pumped breastmilk gives baby many of the same health benefits as nursing – it’s just that nursing may have a slight edge,” says Dr. Azad. Read the full success story here!
Dr. Azad co-authors publication on the hygiene hypothesis, COVID, and microbiome with the CIFAR HMB group
The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to affect the human microbiome in infected and uninfected individuals, having a substantial impact on human health over the long term. The CIFAR Humans & the Microbiome (HMB) group, including Dr. Azad and co-authors, share their perspectives on how COVID-19−induced societal changes could impact the microbiome, and discuss current and future challenges regarding the interplay between this pandemic and the microbiome. "The hygiene hypothesis, the COVID pandemic, and consequences for the human microbiome" was published in PNAS.
This year's Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) Mini Virtual Conference Series will have a focus on pediatric nutrition - from the womb to the first 1,000 days of life. On February 25, Dr. Azad will be presenting on Milk & Microbes: Human milk oligosaccharides, infant gut microbiota and health trajectories in the CHILD Cohort Study. This talk will discuss CHILD research associations between human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), infant gut microbiota and atopic sensitization in breastfed infants.
A documentary based on the acclaimed book Let Them Eat Dirt by B. Brett Finlay, PhD & Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD features research by Dr. Azad and the CHILD Study. Dr. Azad explains her data on microbes in breastmilk and why the way infants receive breastmilk matters. She also sheds light on how perceptions of breastfeeding affect all of us society-wide – not just mothers and babies.
New Paper: Azad & Arrieta Labs collaborate to study maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages and the infant gut microbiome
Artificial sweetener consumption by pregnant women has been associated with an increased risk of infant obesity, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. The Gut Microbes paper "Maternal consumption of artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy is associated with infant gut microbiota and metabolic modifications and increased infant body mass index", a collaboration between the Azad and Arrieta Labs, studied 100 infants from the CHILD Cohort Study. They found that overall, gestational exposure to artificially sweetened beverages was associated with gut microbiota structure in some infants, and gut microbiota structure was associated with infant BMI. Tweetorial here!
Diarrhea is a major cause of infant mortality. Azad Lab trainees Dhasni Muthumuni and Dr. Kozeta Miliku conducted this population-based study in collaboration with the ALSPAC Cohort titled "Enhanced Protection Against Diarrhea Among Breastfed Infants of Nonsecretor Mothers", published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. They found that breastfeeding by nonsecretor mothers was especially protective against diarrhea. Further understanding of this relationship could help reduce infant diarrheal mortality and improve processes for donor milk banking and provision. Tweetorial here!
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