How immune factors in breast milk grow and protect our babies
There are a host of immune components in human milk that protect the infant against infections and diseases as well contributing to the maturation of the infant immune system.
The level of these immune components change in response to changes in the health of the lactating women and her infant. However, the interaction of these immune components in protecting and responding infections and diseases is not well understood. Therefore, this project sets out to investigate which immune components are strongly related to specific infections and diseases, and determine how they interact to provide protection for the infant.
- Determine the level and dose of human milk immune components in relation to infant growth, development and health over 12 months of lactation
- To explore potential changes in the immune components in the milk in response to maternal or infant illness
This PhD student project will involve the application of a variety of different methods to measure the concentration of immune components in the milk such as lactoferrin, lysozyme as well as cytokines.
- Hassiotou F, Geddes DT. Immune Cell–Mediated Protection of the Mammary Gland and the Infant during Breastfeeding. Advances in Nutrition. 2015:6 (3);267- 275.
- Demers-Mathieu V, Dung M, Mathijssen GB, Sela DA, Seppo A, Järvinen KM, Medo E. Difference in levels of SARS-CoV-2 S1 and S2 subunits- and nucleocapsid protein-reactive SIgM/IgM, IgG and SIgA/IgA antibodies in human milk. J Perinatol. 2020 Sep 1.
- Czosnykowska-Łukacka M, Lis-Kuberka J, Królak-Olejnik B, Orczyk-Pawiłowicz M. Changes in Human Milk Immunoglobulin Profile During Prolonged Lactation. Front Pediatr. 2020 Aug 7;8:428.
- Gridneva Z, Lai CT, Rea A, Tie WJ, Ward LC, Murray K. Hartmann PE, Geddes DT. Human milk immunomodulatory proteins are related to development of infant body composition during the first year of lactation. Pediatr Res. 2020 May 21.
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.
How to Apply
- 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 email@example.com to proceed with your application