Donna Geddes

Donna Geddes

Title: Professor - Chief Investigator
Qualifications: DMU, PostGrad Dip (Sci), PhD
Email: donna.geddes@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 7006
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Awards

Early Career Research Award - ISRHML (2008), Certificate of Distinction for Innovative Research - Raine Medical Research Foundation (2008), Healthy Children Faculty Award, Massachusetts, USA (2007), Best Publication – International Lactation Consultants Association (2005), Best Paper – Australian Sonographers Association National Conference (2001)

Background

Donna is the director of the Human Lactation Research Group. Donna originates from a medical imaging background with an emphasis in ultrasound imaging. She has integrated this modality into many of the group’s studies providing a ‘window’ to different physiological processes during lactation. Her findings have attracted much international attention and she is often requested to speak at both International and National Scientific Meetings. She is a member of the Nutrition Society of Australia and Secretary for the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation.

Research Interests

Donna has a broad range of research interests in the physiology of lactation extending from basic to applied research. In particular she utilizes her ultrasound imaging skills to assess the lactating breast (anatomy, milk ejection and blood flow) as well as the infant (suck-swallow-breathe, gastric emptying and body composition). Her current interests include understanding the role of breastmilk in appetite control and the development of breastfeeding in the preterm infant.

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Ching Tat Li

Ching Tat Lai

Title: Research Fellow
Qualifications: PhD, MSc, Grad Dip. Sc, BSc
Email: Ching-tat.lai@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 08 6488 3200
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Background

A Research Fellow at the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group (HHLRG). Dr Lai graduated from his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1996 at UWA, where he went on to complete his Post Graduate Diploma (1997), Masters (2002) and PhD (2007) at UWA. During his postgraduate years, he was involved in research projects that determined the relationship between the immune proteins in human milk and the atopic outcome of breastfeed infants; and the impact of expression regime on the milk production and composition of preterm milk during the first two months of lactation. He is leading the biochemical research at the HHLRG, with the aim to understand the changes in human milk components in relation to breast physiology as well as the growth and development of infant.

Research Interests

Dr Lai’s current research focuses on redefine and develop analytical methodologies that utilises other bioactive components of human milk to address many other issues relate to the feeding of human milk.

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Lisa Stinson

Lisa Stinson

Title: Research Fellow
Qualifications: BSc (The University of Melbourne), MMedSc Obstetrics & Gynaecology (The University of Western Australia), PhD Perinatal Microbiology (The University of Western Australia)
Email: lisa.stinson@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 6488 3200
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Awards

DOHaD ANZ New Investigator Award (2018), DOHaD ANZ Nestle Nestle Nutrition Institute Travel Award (2018), PSANZ “Best of the Best” Abstract Award (2018), UWA PSA Travel Award (2018), UWA Travel Grant (2018), ANZPRA Award (finalist, 2017), WCMN Best Flash Talk (2017), ERBSWA Best Talk Prize (2017), ASMR (WA) Best Lay Summary (2017), UWA Travel Grant (2013).

Background

Lisa was awarded her masters of medical science in 2013 after completing a two year research project exploring the effects anti-inflammatory drugs in human and ovine placentas.  Her research focus subsequently shifted towards the perinatal microbiome, and Lisa completed her PhD in January 2019, with a thesis titled “The not-so-sterile womb: New data to challenge an old dogma”. Throughout her PhD Lisa has published extensively, engaged in science communication and public outreach, and presented her work at numerous conferences. Lisa’s research has received numerous awards and significant media attention.  Lisa has been working with the group since September 2018, with an interest in the human milk microbiome.

Research Interests

  • The perinatal / early life microbiome
  • Developmental origins of health and disease
  • Preterm birth
  • Placental function and structure
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Sharon Perrella

Sharon Perrella

Title: Research Fellow
Qualifications: PhD, GradCertNsg (Child & Family Health Nursing), PGradDipClinNsg (Neonatal Intensive Care), MSc, RN RM IBCLC
Email: sharon.perrella@ uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 4467
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Awards

Helen Bailey Fellowship 1997

Background

Sharon is a registered nurse and midwife, with qualifications and experience in neonatal intensive care, paediatric and child health nursing. She has been a voluntary breastfeeding counselor with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and qualified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2008. Sharon feels privileged to be part of a dymanic team that is committed to furthering our understanding of the many facets of lactation and breastfeeding.

Research Interests

Sharon completed a PhD titled “The Effect Of Different Types Of Nutrition On The Gastrointestinal Response Of The Preterm Infant” in 2015 with distinction.
Sharon’s research interests include the establishment and maintenance of lactation and breastfeeding following preterm birth, low milk supply, and the effect of oral anomalies on breastfeeding outcomes.

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Danielle Freeth

Danielle Freeth

Title: Research Associate
Qualifications: BNurs, PGradDipMidwifery, MMidwifery, GradCertNsg (Child & Adolescent Health Nursing), RN, RM, IBCLC
Email: danielle.freeth@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 3144
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Background

Danielle is a registered nurse and midwife, with qualifications and experience in community child health nursing.  Following her varied breastfeeding journeys in mothering her own four children, she developed a passion for supporting women and families with early parenting and infant feeding.  Danielle qualified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2017 and has an unwavering desire to learn more about breastfeeding, and support mothers with breastfeeding challenges.  Danielle feels privileged to be a part of the innovative team at the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group and is looking forward to advancing her knowledge in relation to human lactation and infant feeding.

Research Interests

  • Establishment and maintenance of breastmilk supply
  • Establishment of breastfeeding, particularly in situations of mother-infant separation and preterm birth
  • Impacts of maternal and infant mental health on the breastfeeding experience
  • Evaluation of health professionals’ understanding of human lactation
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Z. Gridneva 2017 crop

Zoya Gridneva

Title: Research Associate
Qualifications: Biologist – Biochemist, Science teacher, BSc, PhD
Email: zoya.gridneva@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 4467
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Awards

inFLAME Travel Award (2018), PSANZ Student Symposium Award (2016), DOHaD ANZ The Nestle Nutrition Institute Prize “For translational research initiatives” (2016), Medela Top Up Scholarship (2014), UWA Australian Postgraduate Award (2012), Diploma summa cum laude, Bashkirskij State University (1991)

Background

Zoya Gridneva, PhD is a Research Associate within the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group, UWA. Zoya has a biochemical background with emphasis in proteomics and has worked in the biomedical field and in different research settings in ophthalmology (Russian Eye and Plastic Surgery Centre (Alloplant), Ufa, Russia; Lions Eye Institute and CooperVision Surgical, Perth, Australia). She was involved in the development and production of the allo-, xeno- and artificial cornea and orbital implants. After the birth of her second child Zoya changed her career to follow the subject of interest (breastfeeding) and joined the group in 2012 as a PhD student, then completed her PhD in 2017 and continued with research in the group as a Research Associate. Zoya utilizes new techniques (ultrasound and bioelectrical impedance) to improve the understanding of breastmilk composition and its relationship to infant’s health, growth and development.

Research Interests

  • Human milk composition
  • Infant appetite control
  • Body composition of the breastfed infants
  • Effect of maternal factors on milk composition
  • Effect of maternal factors on breast anatomy and milk production and removal
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Ardra Narayanan

Title: Graduate Research Assistant
Qualifications: Bachelor of Technology- Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, Master of Infectious Diseases (MID)
Email: ardra.narayanan@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 6488 4427
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Background

In 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering from The University of Kerala in India.  However, after interning with HLL Life care Pty Ltd in India, I realised that medical research was my passion!

I moved to Western Australia to pursue Master of Infectious Diseases and graduated from The University of Western Australia, in 2018.  I was working as a research assistant and lab technician with UWA School of Agriculture and Environment.  I have been working with the prestigious Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group since October 2019.

Research Interests

My Master’s project was on ‘Identifying urine microbiota diversity in a healthy population by sequencing 16S rRNA gene via next generation sequencing’- to better understand the cause of Interstitial Cystitis. My research interests rests largely on the fields of microbiome, immunology, relationship between breastfeeding and breast cancer, single-cell and stem cell study in breast milk etc. My role as a graduate research assistant is helping me to gain more knowledge on my topics of research interest, by providing research support to the group.

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Erika van den Dries

Title: Research Assistant
Qualifications: Grad Cert Family and Community Health. Grad Cert Maternity Nursing. RN (BSc Nursing) IBCLC
Email: erika.vandendries@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 3144
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Awards

2008 Beth Kingsley Memorial Award recipient (Family and Community Health Nursing) Curtin University

Background

Erika is a registered nurse who started her career working remotely in a small 11 bed hospital the Great Southern region of WA, quickly realizing her passion lay in working with families with young children as a local Community Health and Immunisation Nurse.  After experiencing motherhood and the growth of her own family with the addition of three children, Erika became involved with her local Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) group; training as a Breastfeeding Counsellor whilst also concurrently completing her postgraduate qualifications in Family and Community Health nursing.  Experience co-leading the local Kalamunda ABA group with Dr Sharon Perrella and employment as a Community Child Health Nurse led to further qualifications as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2012 and the creation of a thriving private practice Lactation Consultancy partnership. Erika’s previous role as a Research Assistant encompassed recruiting breastfeeding mothers and babies for the research group as well as assisting the researchers in laboratory sessions.  her new role as a Research Associate will initially see her collaborating on research into pumping.  Erika keenly looks forward to increasing her own lactation knowledge with further academic studies.

Research Interests

Erika’s research interests that she would like to further in the future include; causes of low milk supply, the effects of insufficient glandular tissue, PCOS and oral anomalies on the establishment and maintenance of lactation as well as the relationship between lactation and the human microbiome.

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Melissa Singer

Melissa Singer

Title: Research Assistant
Qualifications: BSc, PGradDipMidwifery, PGradCert (Screening, diagnostics, pharmacology & prescribing for Midwives), RN, RM
Email: melissa.singer@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 3144
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Background

Melissa graduated from Registered Nursing in 1996 and spent a large amount of time working in regional hospitals providing general care before finding her passion for working with women and getting post graduate qualifications in the field of Midwifery in 1999.
Melissa has spent most of her midwifery career in the community working closely with women and families throughout the antenatal, birthing and postnatal periods.  It has been working in these close relationships she has discovered the need for adequate breastfeeding support early on for the new mother and baby to establish strong breastfeeding relationships to facilitate the continuance of a successful breastfeeding journey.

Research Interests

Melissa’s research interests include the impacts on birth experience on the mother/baby breastfeeding dyad.
The importance of the establishment of milk supply, particularly in situations of mother-infant separation or infant not latching in the first 24 hours post birth.

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Jacki McEachran head shot 2020

Jacki McEachran

Title: Project Officer
Email: jacki.mceachran@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 2988
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Background

I commenced working within the group in January 2015 as the Executive Administrator.  I have previous university administrative experience, working within UWA Physiology and the Master of Pharmacy Program, I am also a qualified Veterinary Nurse.
In early 2020, I commenced working as a Project Officer.  My work includes project and data management for the group, as well as executive support for the Chief Investigator.

Interests

To provide both executive support and project and data management for the group.

 

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Alexandra George 2017

Alexandra George

Title: PhD Candidate
Qualifications: BMLSc (University of Otago), BSc Hons (The University of Western Australia)
Email: alexandra.george@research.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 86488 2988
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Awards

PhD Scholarship (Medela AG)

Background

Following a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Otago I worked as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in New Zealand, but was quickly reminded that medical research is my passion! In 2016 I moved to Western Australia to pursue further study in Perth, researching vitamin D metabolite LC-MS method development at UWA.

Research Interests

My first year in Perth exposed me to some cutting-edge laboratory technology and drove my interest in human metabolomics. My current PhD research is in human milk lipidomics and the influence milk lipid composition can have on infant health, growth and development. This research could result in better evidence-based nutritional guidelines for infants, ultimately improving both short and long term health.

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Ali Sadiq Cheema Photo 2017

Ali Sadiq Cheema

Title: PhD Candidate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Master of Infectious Diseases (MID)
Email: alisadiq.cheema@research.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 2988
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Awards

Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF) Medela Scholarship (Ad Hoc Postgraduate Scholarship)

Background

Ali received the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Capital Medical University, Beijing, China, in 2014. And the Master of Infectious Diseases from UWA, 2017. He has previous experience as a medical intern at Beijing Friendship Hospital and was a recipient of “Certificate of Excellence” for his outstanding effort and contribution during medical internship.  His medical background, along with first-hand experience viewing international health care needs while in Pakistan, China and Australia, furthered his desire to make a contribution in the field of medical science focusing on maternal and infants’ health. He worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group and recently started his PhD in April 2018.

Research Interests

Ali’s MID research project concentrated on the microbiome of human milk from mothers who have given birth to infants at different gestational ages.  With an interest in microbiome, Ali started his PhD research with Assoc/Prof Donna Geddes, Dr Ching Tat Lai and Dr Matthew Payne working on determinants of the human milk microbiome, infant fecal microbiome, protein and peptides and their impact on infant health, growth and development.  By understanding interactions between the human milk microbiome and infant fecal microbiome as well as the immune mechanisms by which human milk delivers its benefits will reveal any potential opportunities to intentionally modify human milk composition and allow for early intervention in disadvantaged populations as well as to provide new perspectives for improving short and long-term health of both mother and infant.

He looks forward to utilizing a combination of state-of-the-art approaches to study the interaction of human milk and the infant microbiome, which is a foundation for immune health.

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azhar sindi pic 2019

Azhar Sindi

Title: PhD Candidate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laboratory Medicine, Master of Infectious Diseases (MID)
Email: 21846895@student.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 86488 2988
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Awards

Member of Golden Key International Honour Society

Background

In 2013, I graduated with bachelor’s degree with first honor from Umm Alqura University, Saudi Arabia.  Following one year of internship at King Khalid National Guard Hospital, I worked as a teaching assistant for 1 year at King Saud Bin Abdul-Aziz University for Health Sciences, and for 2 years at Umm Alqura University.  In 2018, I graduated with Master of Infectious Diseases (MID) with distinction from The University of Western Australia.  Recently, in June 2019 I started my PhD candidature.

Research Interests

My MID research project was on the effect of Western Australian honeys on multispecies biofilm.  Currently, I have joined Assoc/Prof Donna Geddes and Dr. Matthew Payne to work on the influence of short-term dietary intervention on human milk microbiome and neonatal gut microbiome, and the effect of Human milk oligosaccharides on neonatal gut microbiome.  Identifying the influence of maternal diet on the characteristics of infant gut microbiome and breast milk composition and its impact on infant health and development is an opportunity to enhance dietary recommendations for pregnant and lactating women to support infant health.

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Majed Suwaydi HS

Majed Suwaydi

Title: PhD Candidate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology, Master of biomedical science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).
Email: majed.suwaydi@research.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 6488 2988
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Awards

Bachelor’s degree with second class honours

Background

Majed started his bachelor in 2008 and graduated from Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology in 2013 at Jazan Univerity, Saudi Arabia. In 2013, he visited the Netherlands and attended a summer research training program at KIT Royal tropical institute, Amsterdam, where he took his first step into the research field as a part of the internship year. In 2014, Jazan University offered him a full scholarship to continue his postgrad study overseas. In 2017, he moved to Perth, where he graduated from his Masters of Biomedical Science in Biochemistry and Molecular biology in 2019 at UWA. During the masters, he developed a passion for lactation science under the supervision of Dr. Donna Geddes and Dr. Ching tat Lai. In Nov 2019, he started his PhD candidature at the Human Lactation Research Group.

Research Interests

Majed’s research focus is human milk biochemistry. His masters research was on the correlation between human milk appetite hormones and the human milk microbiome. He is currently researching the effect of gestational diabetes on human milk production and composition as the current understanding the impact of GDM on hormones in milk is limited and conflicting. Majed is also aiming to improve the hormones biochemical analysis techniques and procedures. Majed’s research will provide evidence about the effects GDM on human milk production and composition, and the subsequent impact on infant growth, body composition, and development.

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Viv Coentro 2019

Viviane Coentro

Title: PhD Candidiate
Qualifications: B.Sc Sp&HearPath, MAud and MAppLing
Email: viviane.silvacoentro@research.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 6488 2988
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Awards

Science without Borders Program full fee Scholarship from Brazilian Federal Government

Background

Viviane is a speech therapist with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Therapy and Audiology, and Masters degree in Applied Linguistics. Her interest in lactation came after her personal experience of exclusively breastfeeding twins. Viviane moved from Brazil to Perth with her family in 2011 where she started working as a birth and postnatal doula.   She worked as a part time Research Assistant with the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group before commencing her PhD candidature with the group in 2016, with support from a Brazilian government  ’Science Without Borders’ scholarship. 

Research Interests

Currently Viviane’s PhD project is supervised by Assoc/Prof Donna Geddes, Dr Ching Tat Lai and Dr Sharon Perrella. She is investigating the effects of nipple shield use on milk transfer in term breastfed infants of mothers with and without nipple pain.  Viviane’s research interests also include suck-swallow-breathe coordination in term breastfed infants with and without oral anomalies, and the establishment and maintenance of lactation.

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Xiaojie Zhou Photo 2020

Xiaojie Zhou

Title: PhD Candidate
Qualifications: Bachelor of Biological Science, Master of Biomedical Sciences
Email: xiaojie.zhou@research.uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 6488 2988
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Background

In 2017, I received the Bachelor of Biological Sciences focusing on fishery in China. During my bachelor’s degree, I did research on the predator stimulus on the morphological changes of wheel animalcules, pseudocoelomate animals.

After graduation, I realised I have an interest in human research rather than ecology. In 2019, I completed the Master of Biomedical Sciences at UWA, researching the biomarkers (milk components) of low milk supply.

Research Interests

Whilst we have found several possible biomarkers among the milk components that are associated with low milk supply, the next step is to figure out the causes of the concentration changes of the milk components. My current PhD research will therefore focus on molecular caused of low milk supply detected by biochemical changes in the milk.

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Jacqueline Kent

Jacqueline Kent

Title: Honorary Research Fellow
Qualifications: Dip. Ed., PhD
Email: Jacqueline.Kent@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 8 6488 2988
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Background

I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in zoology from The University of Western Australia, and a Diploma in Education (Science) from Sydney University. In 1986 I was appointed as a research assistant at UWA in the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group. I completed my PhD in 1999 on the calcium in milk and am now working in the group as a Research Fellow. As part of the group, I have undertaken research on the biochemistry and physiology of lactation, and breastfeeding in babies.

Research Interests

The aim of the group is to understand exactly how the process of lactation works, in order to provide an evidence base to improve treatment when medical difficulties arise in breastfeeding mothers, and to encourage more mothers to breastfeed. To that end, I am investigating the variation in normal breastfeeding patterns and milk production to provide a reference range for mothers and health professionals. I am establishing the use of weighing infants before and after each breastfeed for 24 hours as an assessment tool to support mothers’ confidence in their milk supply that will help to prevent the unnecessary introduction of supplementary feeds with infant formula. The tool can also be used to diagnose actual insufficient milk supply and objectively monitor the effects of advice and treatment.  In addition, I aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and comfort of the electric breast pump for mothers who are pump-dependent, for example mothers who are expressing to provide breastmilk for their preterm infants, or to increase their milk supply, or to leave breastmilk with an infant’s carer when the mother is not available to breastfeed.

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Melvin Gay

Melvin Gay

Title: Honorary Research Fellow
Qualifications: BSc PhD (Murdoch)
Email: melvin.gay@uwa.edu.au
Phone: +61 86488 2988
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Awards

Murdoch University Discoverer’s Grant

Background

Melvin completed his undergraduate studies at Murdoch University and PhD at Separation Science and Metabolomics Laboratory, Murdoch Uni. He then went to work in Singapore as R&D and application support specialist for a Mass Spectrometry company. From 2014-2019, Melvin was employed as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group, and is now an Honorary Research Fellow.

Research Interests

Melvin’s research interest is on the metabolomics aspect of breast milk using separation techniques and mass spectrometry. This provides insights into the physiological changes of the breasts during lactation, the health of the milk and its composition.

Other interest includes:

  1. Environmental contaminants and the interactions between mother and infant.
  2. Developing new methodologies using separation techniques.
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