Identification of maternal biomarkers associated with disease or infection

The challenge

Allergies, including food sensitivities, asthma, and skin conditions have increased significantly over the last 30 years, particularly in wealthier societies5. A mother’s diet throughout her pregnancy and breastfeeding has a significant impact on the microbiome (all the microorganisms that live in or on the body) and immune system of children.

This research will look at diet and lifestyle of mothers during pregnancy to see what influences, if any, there might be on infant susceptibility to infection and allergic diseases.

We will look at the microbiomes of pregnant mothers and young children in both affluent and poorer societies.

Biomarkers from microbiome sequencing will identify disease susceptibility or infection in children, which can be used as an early diagnostic for health issues. Diets can then be modified to treat children before symptoms arise. We may even be able to use these findings to predict the ante-natal fitness of a baby’s immune system.