Milk 4 D study: Validaiton of a novel low cost point-of-need diagnostic for the Assessment of Vitamin D Deficiency in infants

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
Doctor Anushi Rajapaksa anushi.rajapaksa@mcri.edu.au 383416497 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor John Wark jdwark@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary This project is for the clinical validation of a recently developed rapid diagnostic test for the accurate, quantitative assessment of 25(OH)D3 in human breast milk. This project will involve the validation of vitamin D detection system in breastmilk at high sensitivity and specificity.

Project Details

THE PROBLEM:  Milk is an important source of vitamin D for various risk populations, including infants. Vitamin D deficiency among children is common in Australia, the Middle East, India, Africa, and South America, is often undiagnosed as symptoms may not manifest for several years and long-term deficiency has been linked to health problems including osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer. The estimated national annual incidence of vitamin D deficiency rickets among children was 4.9/100 000 Australian children. Vitamin D and calcium in the human milk is essential for the growth and the prevention of rickets in infants. The accurate measurement of vitamin D in milk is necessary to provide adequate supplementation advice for infants. Currently the majority of vitamin D testing is performed in large-scale commercial laboratories which have high operational costs and long times-to-result. Development of a low-cost point-of-need assay could be transformative to deficiency analysis in limited-resource settings. The best biomarker of vitamin D status, 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), however, is particularly challenging to measure and a variety of techniques have been reported for the assay of vitamin D and its metabolites especially in biological fluids. THE PROJECT: This project is for the clinical validation of a recently developed rapid diagnostic test for the accurate, quantitative assessment of 25(OH)D3 in human breast milk.   This project will involve the validation of vitamin D detection system in breastmilk at high sensitivity and specificity. TECHNIQUES:  The student will design and use biochemical sensing methods to quantify these biomarkers in breast milk from at risk populations. The techniques developed will be validated against gold standard methods of diagnosis using blood tests using advanced biochemical methods.  This project is a collaborative effort between Engineering, Chemistry and Clinical sciences together with close collaboration with our Melbourne-based industry partner. Candidates with a strong background or interest in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, or other relevant expertise are encouraged to apply. Please submit your expression of interest (outlining your short and long-term goals) along with you CV and academic transcripts to anushi.rajapaksa@mcri.edu.au.



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

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