Research projects

Nothing to see here folks! Just kidding - we are working on an awesome new project and as soon as things are a bit more concrete, we will be sharing them here.

Milk with Altitude: Investigations into Tibetan mothers' milk composition

This project (colloborator: Geoff Childs) was a two month investigation into the association between ecological stressors experienced at high altitude in ethnic Tibetan women. Mothers in the study were stratified between Kathmandu (4500 ft) and several villages in the Himalayas (7500-12300 ft) permitting investigation into adaptation of milk to ecological stressors.

The SMILE Project

This currently recruiting study (wink wink) investigates maternal body composition, environments, and metabolic hormones in human milk. Our goal is to recruit 50 mothers from the St. Louis area for a brief in home interview, milk collection, and basic anthropometrics.

Main research question: How does maternal body composition contribute to differences in milk metabolic hormones in a well nourished sample?

Methods development

We are constantly developing new methods for the study of human milk and maternal physiology during lactation (and reproduction more broadly). Updates will follow as we have news to report. 

Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (2007-08)

Over six months in 2007-08, we collected milk samples from 120+ mothers enrolled in the Cebu Study. Samples were initially analyzed for macronutrients & energy (here) and fatty acids (here).  We are currently analyzing samples for immune factors, metabolic hormones, and related factors. Check back for more information!

Research question: Is there an association between nutrition and growth in early life and adult productivity during lactation?

Undergraduate stress

My Biomarkers class designed and executed a survey of stress and coping strategies among WashU undergraduates. Kassie and Lisa are still in the process of analyzing 100s of saliva samples for cortisol, a hormone involved in the HPA axis activation during stress.