How do early-life exposures shape childhood metabolomic profile?

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Richard Saffery richard.saffery@mcri.edu.au 83416341 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor David Burgner david.burgner@mcri.edu.au 83416200 Personal web page
Doctor Toby Mansell toby.mansell@mcri.edu.au 83416200

Summary We hypothesise that altered infant metabolic profile from birth mediates the relationship between early life exposures and various aspects of childhood development. To test this, we will examine the relationship between specific maternal factors, including metabolomic measures of maternal blood during pregnancy (28 weeks gestation), and offspring metabolome (birth, 12 months, and 4 years of age).

Project Details

Modern techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) have allowed for simultaneous measurement of a large number of metabolites in a wide range of bodily fluids and tissues, leading to rapid advances in studies of the human 'metabolome'. While specific metabolites have been linked to a range of diseases in adults, it remains unclear what influences shape metabolomic profile in children from birth. In utero, the developing foetus is sensitive to wide range of environmental exposures, with the potential to impact growth and development. Key maternal factors are implicated in this process, including BMI, metabolic profile, health and lifestyle factors (diet, smoking, alcohol consumption etc.), all of which have been linked to specific aspects of childhood health and development.  We hypothesise that altered infant metabolic profile from birth mediates the relationship between early life exposures and various aspects of childhood development. To test this, we will examine the relationship between specific maternal factors, including metabolomic measures of maternal blood during pregnancy (28 weeks gestation), and offspring metabolome (birth, 12 months, and 4 years of age). We will also test the association between childhood metabolome (from birth) with growth and cardiovascular measures at 4 years of age and how infant genetic variation influences these relationships. This project is appropriate for students with an interest in population molecular epidemiology and biostatistics and is anticipated to contribute to at least one publication.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.