THRiVE Discovery Lab's interdisciplinary team has grown in many ways since the Azad Lab was founded in 2014. This rebranding describes both the research goals and training philosophy: the lab and our program strives to help mothers, babies, and families THRiVE and reach their potential. At the same time, our Team Science and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion philosophies help each lab member THRiVE personally and professionally in our unique environment.
Earlier this week, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research's (UNITAR) hosted its inaugural Global Breastfeeding Education Initiative working session. As an Experts Committee Member for this initiative, along with other representatives from numerous organizations, Dr. Azad shared her expert knowledge and research work in breastfeeding and nutrition in maternal and infant health. Read more here.
Dr. Meghan Azad and Dr. Liat Shenav published "Using Community Ecology Theory and Computational Microbiome Methods To Study Human Milk as a Biological System" in mSystems. Their review utilized different skillsets to propose a new strategy for studying human milk as a biological system, using methods developed for microbiome research. [PDF] Follow these links to read the Tweetorial and watch the Video Summary.
Dr. Meghan Azad, a Fellow of the CIFAR Humans & the Microbiome program, was featured in CIFAR's REACH magazine in their winter 2022 "The Next Generation" issue. Dr. Azad used the opportunity to highlight the importance of studying breastmilk. "People have been studying breast milk for a long time. But to be honest, not that many people. It’s surprising when you think about it, given how important breast milk is to our species", stated Dr. Azad. "We look for various nutrients, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, immune factors, microbes, metabolites, and so on. The idea is, if we analyze everything in the milk and then look at it all together, we can understand how breast milk influences the microbiome, gut health, immunity and growth. It’s the new way of thinking about human milk as a ‘biological system".
CHILD's video New Scientific insights into breastfeeding won first place in the 2021 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) "IHDCYH Talks" knowledge mobilization video competition. This video shares important discoveries about the role of breastmilk in child health and development through research done in the Azad Lab in collaboration with other CHILD Cohort Study investigators. Important findings include a higher level of beneficial gut bacteria and healthier growth patterns in babies who are breastfed compared to babies who are not breastfed, as well as a lower rate of wheezing and risk of developing asthma as they get older. To view all of the 2021 video submissions on the IHDCYH Talks Video Competition YouTube Channel, click here.
Dr. Meghan Azad was featured in a perspective piece with Cardiology Today on a new study concerning maternal cardiovascular risk and breastfeeding. "The benefits of breastfeeding for infant health are widely recognized, but the benefits for maternal health are rarely discussed and often ignored in cost-benefit considerations around supporting breastfeeding" states Dr. Azad. "This new study provides evidence for the long-term maternal health benefits of lactation, which emphasizes the importance of supporting breastfeeding to enhance both maternal and infant health". Read the full article here.
Dr. Meghan Azad presented at Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants (EBTSOYP), a program that brings STEM experts into the classrooms of grade 7+ students through virtual presentations and field trips. Dr. Azad talked about breast milk as an extraordinary ‘superfood’ and the ultimate "personalized medicine". She explained how human milk provides all of the nutrients a baby needs in exactly the right combination, protects infants from infections, and even lowers the risk of asthma and obesity later in childhood. This EBTSOYP session was sponsored by the Gairdner Foundation, watch the full video here.
Dr. Meghan Azad has been named one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" for 2021, an annual recognition of the exceptional achievements of 40 outstanding Canadians under the age of 40. "To receive this award is such an honor," said Dr. Azad in an interview featured on the CHILD Cohort Study's website. "It’s gratifying to see, through this celebration of the work I am doing with others, breastfeeding and human milk recognized as an important field. This work depends on the dedication and talents of many colleagues, trainees and research participants. I continue to be grateful to them all, and I’m excited about the new projects we are planning together." Read more about this award here.
Dr. Meghan Azad was interviewed by CTV News Winnipeg about the CHILD Cohort Study in celebration of it's tenth anniversary. "The CHILD database is something that really could never be replicated and we are only at the tip of the iceberg", states Dr. Azad, "There are so many samples still in the freezer that will probably hold secrets that will cure diseases or answer big questions using technologies that don't even exist yet today". Watch the full video here.
MILC experts shared key discoveries on current human milk and lactation research at the CHRIM Child Health Research Days (CHRD) Public Event on October 5 to support National Breastfeeding Week. Attendees engaged in a discussion about the role of infant nutrition in development, health and wellbeing; health-equity challenges and support for breastfeeding; breastfeeding/chestfeeding trends and lactation education; and more. The event had 179 registrants from 15 countries! You can view the recording here.
THRiVE Lab News