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Award Abstract #1344288

INSPIRE Track 1: What is Normal Milk? Sociocultural, Evolutionary, Environmental, and Microbial Aspects of Human Milk Composition

NSF Org: IOS
Division Of Integrative Organismal Systems
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Initial Amendment Date: September 19, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: July 18, 2014
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Award Number: 1344288
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager: Rollie Clem
IOS Division Of Integrative Organismal Systems
BIO Direct For Biological Sciences
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Start Date: October 1, 2013
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End Date: September 30, 2017 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $950,000.00
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Investigator(s): Michelle McGuire smcguire@wsu.edu (Principal Investigator)
Lars Bode (Co-Principal Investigator)
James Foster (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sophie Moore (Co-Principal Investigator)
Courtney Meehan (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Washington State University
280 Lighty
PULLMAN, WA 99164-1060 (509)335-9661
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NSF Program(s): CROSS-EF ACTIVITIES,
INFO INTEGRATION & INFORMATICS,
IIS SPECIAL PROJECTS,
SYMBIOSIS DEF & SELF RECOG,
INSPIRE
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Program Reference Code(s): 1228, 5926, 5976, 5977, 5991, 7391, 8653, 9178, 9179
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Program Element Code(s): 7275, 7364, 7484, 7656, 8078

ABSTRACT

This INSPIRE award is partially funded by the following programs (a) the Symbiosis, Defense & Self-Recognition Program (Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, Biology Directorate) (b) the Emerging Frontiers Office ( Biology Directorate) (c) the Information Integration and Informatics and Special Projects programs of the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering) (d) The Africa/Middle East/South Asia cluster (Kenya, Ghana) and Americas (Latin America, SDC) Cluster of the Office of International Science and Engineering.

It is well-known that breastfeeding protects infants from illness, especially in the poorest regions of the world. The full nature of this protective effect, however, is less well understood. A major barrier to understanding is the fact that almost nothing is known about the factors that influence the considerable variation in milk composition around the globe, or about the effects of this variation on infant health. This INSPIRE project represents the first comprehensive investigation of the global differences in human milk composition along with the various microbial, evolutionary, environmental, and sociocultural factors that might influence both milk composition and infant health. An international, interdisciplinary collaboration of physiologists, nutritional scientists, anthropologists, microbiologists, and mathematicians will collect biological data from breastfeeding women and their infants, in concert with extensive anthropologic and ecological data, in both developed (US, Spain, Sweden) and developing countries (Central African Republic, Gambia, Ghana, Peru, and Kenya). To test the possibility of a correlation between milk oligosaccharide composition, milk microbiota, and the gastrointestinal microbiome of infants, milk samples and infant fecal samples will be analyzed using state-of-the-art biochemical and genomic techniques. This study will allow important cross-cultural comparisons of milk composition and infant feeding practices; it also will utilize sophisticated computational methods to integrate the extensive, diverse body of combined biological and anthropological data to elucidate the relationships among sociocultural factors, evolutionary history, environmental exposures, microbial constituents and milk composition. The researchers predict that what is considered "normal" milk composition in one population may not support optimal health in another. This information is crucial to the humanitarian quest to understand how infant nutrition and overall health can be improved around the world. In addition, this project will provide extensive research training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral scientists.


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH

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DL Beck, C Daniels, JA Foster. "Seed: A microbial community visualization tool.," Bioinformatics, 2014. 

 

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