MOMI Fellows

The MOMI Fellows initiative is designed to develop the next generation of innovators in human milk research. With MOMI Fellows, MOMI CORE provides funding to support visiting fellows and professors, postdoctoral and medical fellows, as well as graduate students.​

Simone Renwick, PhD  Milk & Microbes, 2022 - 

Dr. Renwick joined MOMI CORE in 2022 as the Milk & Microbes (M&M) Fellow co-mentored by Dr. Lars Bode, Dr. Pieter Dorrestein, Dr. Jack Gilbert, and Dr. Rob Knight. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Guelph in Canada, working in Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe's group to study the impact of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) on the gut microbiota of infants at risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

At MOMI CORE and in collaboration with the many powerful teams around us, Dr. Renwick is involved in answering some of the following questions:

  • How do human milk bioactives shape infant microbial communities, fend off pathogens, and shape immune responses?
  • How does human milk alter the metabolite profiles of the developing infant gut?
  • What are the origins of human milk microbes and do they have a specific role in impacting maternal-infant health and development?

Sara Moukarzel, PhD  Education Studies, 2016 - 2020

Starting in 2016, Dr. Moukarzel has been instrumental in conceptualizing and establishing MOMI CORE, but she is also a vivid example of what MOMI CORE is all about: research at the intersection of disciplines, in this case right in between life sciences and social sciences. With Dr. Alan Daly as her primary mentor in Education Studies, Dr. Moukarzel had taken a bold move to drop the pipette and step out of the biomedical research lab and instead immerse herself in a very different world of social network theory, science education, and science communication.

Dr. Moukarzel has published 10 peer-reviewed papers as a MOMI Fellow; with papers focused on better understanding how information and misinformation about breastfeeding is disseminated among people and on social media. More importantly, her work contributed to a wider literature about how human interactions, whether personally or on social media- from social influencers and others- influence breastfeeding rates. The hope is that future researchers would continue to explore how accurate information about breastfeeding science can be effectively and efficiently communicated to healthcare providers and parents- especially during times of health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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