Dr. Azad, MILC co-Director and ALSPAC Cohort collaborate to study secretor status, breastfeeding and infant diarrhea
Diarrhea is a major cause of infant mortality. Dr. Azad and lab trainees 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!
Dr. Azad, MILC co-Director publishes paper on peanut sensitization and the novel "triple exposure" hypothesis
A new Journal of DOHaD paper authored by Dr. Azad and colleagues using CHILD Cohort Study data explains a novel hypothesis as to why some children develop peanut allergies and others do not. "Reduced peanut sensitization with maternal peanut consumption and early peanut introduction while breastfeeding" describes this "triple exposure". When combined, infant peanut consumption, maternal peanut consumption, and breastfeeding appear to significantly reduce the risk of peanut sensitization. Check out the CHRIM press release and Tweetorial!
Human milk research presents an array of logistical and methodological challenges. The comprehensive text, Human Milk: Sampling and Measurement of Energy-Yielding Nutrients and Other Macromolecules, was written by an international group of human milk experts and addresses these challenges head-on. Dr. Azad co-authored Chapter 1, “Collection and storage of human milk for macronutrient and macromolecule analysis – An overview.” This chapter describes milk sampling strategies, milk expression methods, and the collection, storage and handling of human milk. This is Dr. Azad's first book chapter publication!
Dr. Azad was honoured a Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 2020 Award Winner by the Women's Executive Network (WXN), which recognizes the highest achieving female leaders across Canada. When asked to describe what motivates her most, Azad explained, “I’m fueled by the excitement of doing cutting-edge science, and the drive to translate discoveries to make a meaningful impact on child health globally. I’m inspired by my team! Our projects are large, collaborative and transdisciplinary. We are constantly learning from and challenging each other to break new ground with our research.” Congratulations on this amazing achievement, Meghan!
Drs. Meghan Azad and Merilee Brockway spoke at Preemie Power Week in November, hosted by the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation. Meghan's presentation discussed "Milk and Microbes: How Breastfeeding and Gut Bacteria Shape Lifelong Health". Brockway's presentation discussed the iPOP Study, titled "Examining Trends in Global Preterm Rates During the Pandemic Lockdown". Click on either title to view the recorded presentations!
MILC co-Directors, Drs. Azad and Nickel, and MILC member Dr. Brockway co-author interdisciplinary workshop proceedings
In February 2019, experts convened in Winnipeg, Manitoba to identify challenges and breakthroughs in breastfeeding and human milk research (co-led by Drs Azad and Nickel). The proceedings from this workshop were published in the Maternal and Child Nutrition article, “Breastfeeding and The Origins of Health: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Priorities,” co-authored by Dr. Azad, Dr. Nickel, and Azad Lab Post-Doc Fellow, Dr. Brockway. The workshop focused on two main areas of concern: the need for more interdisciplinary research in this field, and the need to address counterproductive tensions between breastfeeding research and advocacy efforts. Read more about this exciting work in Dr. Azad’s Tweetorial here!
MILC members Natalie Rodriguez and Dr. Ayesha Saleem named finalists for this year's CBC Manitoba's Future 40 Awards. Natalie co-directs the IMiC project for the Azad Lab. When asked about advice for tackling big projects, she says "Dare to dream. Dare to shoot for the moon and then go beyond that. Never let someone tell you you aren't good enough, you can't, or you won't." Ayesha, an assistant professor at UM and research scientist at CHRIM, is passionate about teaching younger students and supports underrepresented minorities in STEM. Congratulations Natalie and Ayesha on being recognized for your hard work that is making a difference in the lives of Manitobans!
Dr. Katherine Kearns, family physician and obstetrician, addresses this and other common myths about breastfeeding with Radio Canada. She emphasizes that although breastfeeding is completely natural, it does not come naturally for all moms. Additionally, not everything a mother consumes ends up in her breast milk. Listen to the French recording or read the write-up in your language to learn about the breastfeeding myths she tackles.
Dr. Sarah Reyes, post-doctoral fellow in the Azad Lab, was interviewed for a recent article in Future Human on new biotechnology that would grow breastmilk in a lab. This technology is hoping to harness the power of breastmilk in a reproducible way, however, Dr. Reyes reminds us that we are ‘miles away from understanding the science of breastmilk’, making it difficult to replicate at this point. She states that our first priority should be making better social and professional support for breastfeeding so more women can produce their own milk for their babies.
MSc student, Rilwan Azeez, created an animated short film to capture his passion for human milk science. This video was created to promote Canadian Breastfeeding Week and is a great visualization for why human milk science is important. Great job using your skills and talents to communicate the wonders of breastmilk, Rilwan!