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Meghan Azad, PhD

  • Speaker Type: The Microbiome in the Perinatal Period
  • Country: Canada

Dr. Meghan Azad is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, and completed postdoctoral training in Epidemiology and Pediatrics. Her research program is focused on the role of maternal and infant nutrition in the development and prevention of childhood obesity and allergic disease. Dr. Azad co-leads the Manitoba site of the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study (, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health. She also co-leads the Population Health Pillar for DEVOTION (the Manitoba Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease Network – Dr. Azad serves on the Executive Council for the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, and the Breastfeeding Committee of Canada.

CE Library Presentation(s) Available Online:
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Perinatal exposures, breastfeeding and the gut microbiome: Implications for lifelong health
Cesarean delivery, perinatal antibiotics, and formula feeding are associated with increased risks of asthma and obesity later in childhood. These effects appear to be partially mediated by disruption of the gut microbiome – a complex microbial community that is established at birth and develops rapidly during infancy, influencing host immunity and metabolism throughout the lifespan. Breast milk drives “normal” gut microbiome development by providing a natural source of probiotic microbes and prebiotic oligosaccharides. These associations and mechanisms are being studied in The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) pregnancy cohort of 3500 infants followed from pre-birth through early childhood. Ongoing research in the CHILD cohort and recent evidence from other studies will be discussed.