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The entire history of UC San Diego has been built around a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, around an ethos of breaking away from "the way things have always been done." In just 50 short years, UC San Diego has gone from a fledgling campus of the University of California system to a titan of research, clinical care, and education. Two key factors have brought us to where we stand today, a commitment to excellence and a culture of collaboration. Combined with a critical mass of dedicated internationally recognized scientists, clinicians and educators, the support of an excellent infrastructure and a global network of collaborators and partners, LRF MoMI CoRE is poised for major breakthroughs in the way the world views human milk and the role it plays in maternal and infant health.
A Critical Mass Like No Other
UC San Diego has a strong history of commitment to improving infant health as it relates to human milk. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund recognize UC San Diego Health as a "Baby-Friendly Hospital." Our Premature Infant Nutrition Center (PINC) and Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition (SPIN) program provide breastfeeding support for mothers and infants, contributing to a 97 percent breastfeeding rate in our hospitals. Through partnership with Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, UC San Diego delivers over 16,000 babies and receives over 3,400 NICU admissions each year. This robust clinical environment provides LRF MoMI CoRE with access to large and diverse populations of mothers and their term or preterm infants to study the impact of human milk on large scale and in great detail.
UC San Diego is home to Mommy's Milk, a Human Milk Research Biorepository that provides access to standardized, sterile and indexed human milk samples for scientists to query and cull from for independent, IRB-approved projects. In addition, UC San Diego has also recently received major funding to establish the Mother's Milk Bank, which will collect and provide donor milk to local hospitals for the optimal care of infants who need the milk most. LRF MoMI CoRE is strongly linked to both the human milk research biorepository and the milk bank, and all three entities collaborate to facilitate research excellence and clinical care.
In addition to the unprecedented clinical environment and resources, UC San Diego has an outstanding basic and translational research environment that allows LRF MoMI CoRE to connect with some of the world's top scientists in a variety of research fields, including but certainly not limited to research on the microbiome and metabolome, the immune system, infectious diseases, allergies and asthma, diabetes, obesity, neurodevelopment and cancer. Embracing this multidisciplinary environment, LRF MoMI CoRE's goal is to foster new and innovate research in human milk and lactation by leveraging the expertise and technology already available at UC San Diego.
LRF MoMI CoRE also aims to translate the research to policy and community impact. The Lactation Supportive Environments initiative at the UC San Diego Center for Community Health is working with businesses, school districts and community healthcare centers to implement policy, systems and environmental change strategies supporting breastfeeding friendly environments and lactation accommodation. LRF MoMI CoRE will be able to utilize these close connections to the community to implement research findings where it matters.
At UC San Diego we have the critical mass of diverse thinkers and doers, from scientists to clinicians and community members, who can collectively accelerate human milk and lactation research and amplify its impact on maternal and infant health.
A Commitment to Excellence
UC San Diego is widely regarded as one of the premier research institutions on the planet. Ranked in the top 10 public universities in the United States and top 20 universities in the world by U.S. News & World Report, UC San Diego has also been ranked the top university for contributions to the public good by
Washington Monthly for six years in a row.
UC San Diego School of Medicine is an educational leader, ranking eighth in National Institutes of Health funding and third in funding dollars per faculty member. It is home to 50 National Academy of Medicine members, and no fewer than 20 Nobel laureates have called UC San Diego home.
UC San Diego Health, a robust clinical enterprise in its own right, is a top-tier academic medical center (one of the top 25 in the United States, number one in our region for five years running, according to
U.S. News & World Report) and committed to improving human health through clinical excellence, innovative research and the training of tomorrow’s health care leaders.
At UC San Diego, excellence is in our DNA and we constantly strive to find ways to continue becoming greater. LRF MoMI CoRE is embedded and thrives in this environment and is committed to recognize and promote research excellence.
A Culture of Collaboration
One of our greatest resources is that we reside on a campus that not only values collaboration, but is incredibly diverse in terms of its research. However, our collaboration does not stop at our campus boundary. Rather, that is where it begins.
...across the region
UC San Diego is located at the heart of the Torrey Pines Mesa, a nexus for research and public-private partnerships. We have fostered relationships with internationally recognized research institutes, including the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, The Scripps Research Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and the J. Craig Venter Institute. In addition, we have well-established partnerships with biotech companies like Illumina, MoBio and Synthetic Genomics. These collaborations allow LRF MoMI CoRE researchers access to new technologies while encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to innovation and discovery.
San Diego is truly a melting pot for people from around the world, a place where more than 1.3 million residents from dozens of countries come together to live, work and play. The metropolitan area with its non-homogenous populations situated so closely together is unique to San Diego and provides LRF MoMI CoRE affiliates with access to every type of community all within just a few miles of campus—from rural, agricultural communities to more affluent urban and suburban ones.
Just like our collaboration does not end at our campus boundary, international borders do not stop us either.
A unique opportunity for LRF MoMI CoRE lies in the incredibly strong ties between San Diego and the Tijuana region, just south of the border with Mexico. Tijuana's Autonomous University of Baja California (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, UABC) is a vital partner with LRF MoMI CoRE. The demographics, maternal and infant exposures, and breastfeeding rates are profoundly different in Tijuana than they are in San Diego, allowing us to conduct comparative studies to identify genetic and environmental factors that affect human milk composition and influence both maternal and infant health at the interface of developing-developed settings.
...around the world
LRF MoMI CoRE affiliates are intertwined with scientific collaborators and partners from around the world. Our vision is to become the cornerstone in a global network of research excellence in human milk and lactation and serve as a model of innovative multidisciplinary research, a key to answering complicated questions related to why and how human milk promotes optimal health, growth and development.
At UC San Diego, collaboration and innovation are part of our identify. LRF MoMI CoRE is a natural precipitate of this culture. We offer a unique environment of basic and clinical research partnerships, across campus, across disciplines and across institutions, which facilitates the kind of culture that sparks new discoveries and advances health.