Tuesday, March 21st 1 pm PDT/4 pm EDT; Wed March 22, 8 am AEDT (Sydney); 10 am NZDT (Wellington)
Human milk is inarguably the only food "designed" to be consumed exclusively by humans - providing all the essential nutrients (and other bioactive compounds and constituents) needed for growth and development of the human infant. However, our understanding of human milk composition and its impact on host and microbial health is far from complete. For instance, until recent advances in instrumentation allowing the detection and identification of difficult-to-culture bacteria, common dogma was that human milk was sterile unless produced by an infected mammary gland or contaminated after expression. Researchers now know, however, that (like bovine milk) human milk contains diverse populations of bacteria. This webinar will briefly describe what is currently known about variation in the human milk microbiome as well as relationships among maternal diet, maternal health, milk nutrient content, and the milk microbiome. In addition, we will introduce an ongoing cross-cutting study funded by the Integrated National Science Foundation Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) funding mechanism designed to help us better understand what is normal in terms of milk microbes in various locations worldwide. The importance of cooperation and interdisciplinary discussion around methods and vocabulary will be discussed. Finally, a framework for considering what work is needed to link the human milk microbiome to human health and disease will be presented.
Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire is a human nutrition researcher with expertise in maternal and infant nutrition, particularly during the period of breastfeeding. Classically trained by some of the longstanding leaders in human and bovine lactation research at the University of Illinois and Cornell University, Dr. McGuire is now Professor of Nutrition at Washington State University, where she has been conducting clinical research related to nutrition, lactation, and breastfeeding since 1995. Most recently, Shelley’s research has shifted to focus on understanding factors such as environment, maternal diet, childcare practices, and evolutionary selection that might be related to variation in bacteria in human milk. More importantly, her research team is committed to understanding how this variation might be related to health and disease. They posit that there are “normal” shifts, in this regard, to support unique combinations of biological, cultural, and environmental constructs. This work has opened her eyes to the critical nature of cross-disciplinary, international collaborations. In addition to her studies of human milk and lactation, Shelley is also a seasoned science writer. Her introductory college-level nutrition textbooks, Nutritional Sciences: from Fundamentals to Foods and NUTR are used around the globe. Committed to exceptional education, she was awarded Washington State University’s prestigious Thomas E. Lutz Teaching Excellence Award in 2016. Dr. McGuire has served on the executive committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) since 2010, and is an active member of the American Society for Nutrition.