Infancy at Altitude: Investigations into Tibetan mothers' milk composition

This project (colloborator: Geoff Childs) was a 38 month longitudinal investigation into maternal health, child growth, milk composition, and adaptation during infancy to high altitude (Funding: National Science Foundation). The project ended in July 2018 and data analysis is ongoing. For more about the project, please see our public abstract.

Genes, physiology, and fertility of Tibetan women at high altitude in Nepal

Quinn is a co-PI on this project with Cynthia Beall, Sienna Craig, and other anthropologists (Funding: National Science Foundation). The project is investigating genotypes and phenotypes associated with reproductive aging in Tibetan women living in high altitude communities in the Nepali Himalayas. The Biomarkers and Milk Lab did urine assay development for the project and collaborated closely with the Center for Molecular Dynamics – Nepal.

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. Recruit is on hold for Fall 2019 but will resume in January 2020.

Methods development

We are constantly developing new methods for the study of human milk and maternal physiology during lactation (and reproduction more broadly). We have developed numerous new assays for the study of hormones in human milk, and are actively working on developing minimally invasive, environmentally stable methods for studying human milk composition. We are also working on expanding current research into immunology and reproductive health among women using urine based assays and have developed novel urine assays.

Got (Pumped) Milk: Women's experiences with breast milk expression/pumping and infant feeding decisions

This project used a digital survey to investigate how women use visual cues during breast milk expression to evaluate their own milk supply. In the experimental design, basic information on demographics and pumping histories were collected on mothers; mothers were then randomized to one of three pumped volumes and asked to respond as if they had just pumped that volume. More than 1000 women participated in the survey. Survey results will be published shortly but are currently available here.  As a follow up, we are now using photo voice to have women narrate their experiences with pumping milk for their infants. If you’d like to participate in Phase 2, please click here now to be taken to the survey.

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?