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!
Dr. Azad presented CHILD research at two virtual conferences this week: The International Milk Genomics Consortium virtual symposium and the Microbiome Movement Maternal & Infant Health Summit. The presentations focused on the milk, nose and gut bacteria collected from CHILD study samples and how these different bacteria can help shape infant health. It is amazing what we are discovering about bacteria from the rich data available in the CHILD cohort!
MILC Co-Director, Dr. Meghan Azad contributes to a new report: Scanning for New Evidence on the Nutrient Content of Human Milk
Dr. Meghan Azad contributed to a newly-published evidence scan describing the nutrient content and milk volume consumed by infants to help inform reference standards for infant nutrition intake. The report was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.D. Department of Health and Human Services for the National Academies of Science. This report uncovers the importance of researching the complexity of human milk to optimize infant health and will be used to help improve policies and infant nutrition guidelines.
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The Winnipeg Breastfeeding Network hosted a Facebook Live event to celebrate Canadian Breastfeeding Week. The event centered on three themes: The Science of Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Support and Celebrating Breastfeeding and included presentations from over 15 breastfeeding practitioners, advocate and community members. Wab Kinew and Lisa Monkman joined the event with warm greetings to all. Join us in celebrating breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding!
Bridget McGann holds a B.A. in Anthropology and is a breastfeeding science advocate. She is one of the co-founders of March for Science, an evidence-based movement for science and a more just, sustainable world. Bridget spoke with MILC about a public movement towards rejecting breastfeeding as a scientifically and evolutionary preferred method of infant feeding, and how scientists can engage with the public to provide evidence-based knowledge to counteract this movement and support breastfeeding. Thank you Bridget for the wonderful presentation!
MILC members receive Health Research Postdoctoral Awards from Research Manitoba in partnership with Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
MILC members Dr. Sarah Reyes of the Azad Lab, and Dr Taiana Martins of the Saleem Lab, were awarded 2020 Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowships by Research Manitoba in Partnership with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Sarah’s research will involve the analysis of human milk components and nasal microbiota as causal factors in the prevention of wheezing and ear infections during a child’s first year. Taiana’s research will be focused on extracellular vesicles in breast milk and the developmental origins of asthma.
The Health Research Fellowship awards are given to highly qualified and exceptional trainees who significantly increase the productivity of the research program with which they are affiliated and aim to prepare them for careers as independent researchers. Congratulations Sarah and Taiana!