Mohammed Abdullah Alsaweed
Thesis: Characterisation of miRNAs in Human Breastmilk
MicroRNAs are non-coding small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. miRNAs are considered to be central regulators of self-renewal and differentiation in stem cells by regulating expression of key genes. They have been found in tissues as well as body fluids, including breastmilk. Recently, research has started to examine milk miRNAs showing that some of them are associated with immunological and potentially, developmental functions. However, the types and respective functions of milk miRNAs are largely unexplored. This study investigates the types of miRNAs present in breastmilk and explores intra- and inter-subject variations.
Why my research is important
miRNAs are involved in a large number of biological and physiological processes, such as in cellular differentiation, apoptosis, proliferation, immune response and maintenance of cellular and tissue identity. miRNAs in body fluids such as breastmilk are largely unexplored. The fact that breastmilk miRNAs are consumed by the infant and remain unharmed in the infant’s intestine suggests a potential function in the infant. This study examines the properties and types of miRNAs found in breastmilk, which will give insight into the potential roles(s) of these molecules in early infant nutrition, protection and development.