Validation of a dried milk spot card for ease of collection and storage of human milk

Taking a sample of breastmilk could be as simple as placing a drop of milk on a card


Breastmilk collection and analyses approaches to date has been based on collection into tubes with subsequent analysis on frozen samples. Human milk is a unique matrix requiring specific validation with issues for collection, storage, transport and analyses. This approach does not allow for storage of large numbers of samples or collections in remote areas.

Dried Milk Spots (DMS) provide an approach and collection system that solves these inherent problems. Although DMS collection systems exist for measurement of milk fatty acids and other compounds (IL-6 receptor blocker, antiretroviral therapy) there is a requirement to further develop these systems for multiple sensor nor DMS exists that targets the different milk components macronutrient or micronutrients relevant to infant growth and development.


Project goals:

  • Optimise a Dried Milk Spot card for the collection of human milk
  • Determine optimal storage conditions for the Dried Milk Spot care
  • Develop methods to measure a suite of human milk components from the Dried Milk Spot card.

This PhD student project will involve the application development of assays to measure quantitatively the components of breastmilk placed on a card developed for collection of human milk samples.

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Research team leader: Professor Donna Geddes

Prof Geddes is a lactation biologist, with a major focus on the mechanisms by which breastfeeding programme early and later life health outcomes. She is located at the School of Molecular Sciences at UWA where she measures milk composition in relation to infant outcomes. She leads a large group that works in the areas of human milk microbiome, metabolomics, biochemistry and physiology.


Funding and Collaborations


  • This project is partially funded by an unrestricted research grant from Medela AG



How to Apply 

Check criteria
  • To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate they have sufficient background experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete, and provide evidence of English language proficiency
  • Requirements specific to this project:
    • A minimum 2A Honours degree or Masters degree in a related field
    • Undergraduate degree in science/ biomedical science/relevant degree
    • Eligible to enrol in a PhD at UWA
    • Excellent communication skills including oral presentation and writing
Submit enquiry to research team leader 
  • Contact the research team leader by submitting an Expression of Interest form via the button below
  • After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, contact to proceed with your application


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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