Trainee Interest Group (TIG)

Because trainees are the future of ISRHML….


The Trainee Interest Group (TIG) brings together ISRHML trainees to participate in activities aiming at trainee academic and professional growth within the field of human milk and lactation research. The TIG also works as liaison with other ISRHML committees at ISRHML to provide trainee perspective when needed.

Check out the TIG Newsletter

As member of TIG, what activities would you be involved in?

TIG members contribute to ISRHML’s annual and international scientific meetings by:

  1. Assisting in organizing oral presentation and poster competitions
  2. Organizing “Meet-the-experts” sessions and professional development sessions
  3. Assisting in preparing reference workshop material (eg. handouts) and in facilitating workshops
  4. Assisting in event advertisement and archiving

Other activities include developing a periodic newsletter for trainees and organizing webinars and online discussion forums on novel research topics.

Meet the members of the TIG governing committee

The governing committee works with TIG to organize trainee-relevant activities, explores additional activities related to advancing training related to human milk and lactation and bridges communication between TIG and other ISRHML committees.

The Trainee Governing Committee is chaired by the TIG president and consists of a secretary, 3 trainees-at-large and 2 full member advisors.

President, 2017-2019: Dr. Janet Williams

Janet Williams, PhD, is a senior research scientist in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Idaho (UI). Janet graduated in 2016 from the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, with a degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Mark McGuire. She received her bachelors and masters degrees in Animal Science at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. Janet’s doctoral research focused on identifying relationships among maternal diet, maternal cells in milk, and milk components, particularly the milk microbiome. Janet continues to utilize both laboratory “wet bench” and mathematical/computational methods to work towards understanding the complex relationships between maternal factors, such as genomics, milk cells, and other milk components, and microbial communities in milk and the gastrointestinal tract of the offspring.


Secretary, 2018-2020: Sarah Rayes

Sarah Reyes is a PhD candidate and NIH pre-doctoral trainee in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Sarah obtained both her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Human Nutrition and International Studies and MS in Animal Science from the University of Idaho. Sarah’s current research focuses on the bacterial composition of human milk pumped and stored under real-life conditions. Sarah’s goals as Secretary will be to help identify ways to improve the experience for TIG’ers. She plans to do this, in part, by encouraging TIG’er participation through creating more transparent and improved access to meeting notes.

Trainee Mentorship Series Coordinator: 2016-2018: Gabriela Buccini

Gabriela Buccini is a postdoctoral associate for Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) at the Yale School of Public Health (US). She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) certified by IBLCE®. She obtained her MPH and Ph.D. in Nutrition in Public Health from the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo- Brazil. Both focus on breastfeeding in Brazil. Gabriela’s current research focuses on implementation science, scale-up of breastfeeding programs and lactation management. Gabriela’s goals as Trainee Mentorship Series coordinator will be to (1) engage ISRHML senior members from basic and applied science to discuss topics related to human milk and lactation also broader themes as career development and grant/fund application; and (2) engage TIG members who had successfully completed their trainee expansion programme (TEP) to share their findings and how this experience has impacted their career development.

Member Recruitment and Social Media Chair: 2017-2019: Florence Nabwire

Florence Nabwire is a PhD candidate and Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has a masters degree in applied human nutrition from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She has expertise in design and implementation of nutrition programs in resource limited settings, with special focus on infant and young child feeding, baby-friendly health facility initiatives, integrated management of acute malnutrition, and nutrition care for people living with HIV. Florence previously managed the nutrition program at Baylor-Uganda that provided technical assistance to over 400 health facilities in Uganda. She is currently working under the mentorship of Drs. Gail Goldberg and Ann Prentice. Her research explores the effects of maternal HIV-infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) on calcium and vitamin D requirements for bone health among breastfeeding mother-infant dyads in Uganda. Specifically, her doctoral work investigates if (1) HIV-infected women on ART experience greater reductions in bone mineral density during breastfeeding as compared to HIV-uninfected women; and (2) how maternal ART affects growth and bone mineral accretion in breastfed infants.

Blog Editor, 2017-2019: Kimberly Lacke

Kimberly Lackey is a doctoral candidate in zoology at Washington State University under the mentorship of Dr. Shelley McGuire. Her doctoral research focuses on methods to collect and preserve human milk samples collected in rural field conditions, as well as the subsequent analysis of these samples for both their overall microbial community structure and Mycobacterium leprae, the causative agent of leprosy. Her doctoral work will culminate in a proof-of-concept project designed to determine if M. leprae is present in the milk of women with leprosy. Kimberly is especially interested in women’s health and infectious disease, and would like to pursue a career in public health after the completion of her PhD.

Advisor, 2017-2019: Dr. Evette van Niekerk

Dr. Evette van Niekerk is a qualified dietitian and holds a senior lecturer position in the Division of Human Nutrition at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She obtained her PhD in nutritional sciences from Stellenbosch University in 2014. Her interest in pediatric nutrition includes work on breastmilk composition, the gut microbiome, and HIV exposure, as well as growth outcomes and body composition of premature infants. Currently, she is the principle investigator of a cohort study (named the BIG HMO study) assessing body composition, growth, and nutritional intake of HIV-exposed preterm, extremely-low birth weight infants. Evette has authored papers in peer-reviewed international scientific journals and disseminated research findings at international and national congresses.

Advisor, 2016-2018: Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire

Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire has been a member of ISRHML since 1988, and her first (wonderful) memory of being a part of this group was at its 1990 meeting held in Asilomar, California. Since Asilomar, she has participated in all but 3 of the society’s subsequent international meetings. Shelley received the ISRHML Ehrlich-Koldovsky Award in 2002; was a member of the ISRHML executive committee from 2003-2005; and has served as the society’s secretary/treasurer and subsequently treasurer since 2010. Shelley’s research has focused primarily on understanding the relationship between maternal nutrition and milk composition, most recently around the theme of lipids and the human milk microbiome. She also has a long-standing interest in understanding how variation in maternal nutritional status and suckling patterns can impact duration of postpartum amenorrhea. She and her colleague/husband, Dr. Mark McGuire, live in Moscow, ID, although Shelley is a professor of nutrition at Washington State University. It is noteworthy that Shelley’s entry into the field of human milk and lactation was fostered by the late Dr. Mary Frances Picciano, a founder and president of ISRHML.