Trainee Interest Group (TIG)

Because trainees are the future of ISRHML….


The Trainee Interest Group (TIG) is a sub-organization of ISRHML dedicated to students, postdocs, and new research scientists and faculty members. The TIG organizes activities that foster academic and professional growth within the field of human milk and lactation research for these junior members.

The objectives of the TIG are to:

•             Connect trainees with each other and to experts/senior members of ISRHML - (networking)
•             Enhance the visibility of trainees to senior members of ISRHML
•             Advance academic and professional growth related to research in human milk and lactation
•             Expand trainee knowledge through Trainee Mentorship Series

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:
Dr. 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:
Dr. 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: Dr. 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, 2019: Dr. Sarah Taylor

Dr. Sarah Taylor is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the Director of Clinical Research for the Division of Neonatology at Yale School of Medicine. Prior to joining Yale, she was an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina where she also performed her pediatric residency, neonatal fellowship, and received a Masters’ in Clinical Science. She started the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina in 2015. Dr. Taylor’s research centers on infant nutrition and growth with a special focus and human milk and lactation. In the past, she has received NIH funding to study the effect of vitamin D health on preterm infant bone development and investigate interventions to support preterm infant breastfeeding through the first postnatal year. Currently, Dr. Taylor explores the behavioral and biologic influences on mother’s milk production including methods to mitigate disparities and studies preterm infant gut health and development related to nutritional exposures. She is very excited to play a role in global human milk and lactation research development as a TIG advisor!

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.