Webinar Organizers

Africa

Richmond Aryeetey, PhD

Dr Richmond Aryeetey is an Associate Professor at the University of Ghana. He obtained his B.Sc. and M.P.H. from the University of Ghana and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Dr. Aryeetey has been studying maternal and child health, with a focus on diets and nutrition of and food systems in Ghana as well as social and policy determinants of poor nourishment over the past 20 years. He has also mentored several students and fellows through his teaching and research. He currently convenes the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Academic Platform in Ghana.

Florence Nabwire, PhD

Florence Nabwire is an Investigator Scientist in the MRC Nutrition and Bone Health Research (NBH) Group led by Professor Ann Prentice, and a visiting worker at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge. Her current research investigates the effect of maternal HIV status and antiretroviral therapy on lactational bone mineral mobilisation and bone metabolism, breastmilk mineral composition, and child growth. The research is based on a prospective cohort study that she set-up in Uganda during her PhD.

Florence has a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Cambridge. She was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to conduct her PhD at MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory. She also has a BSc in Food Science and Technology and MSc in Applied Human Nutrition from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Florence has three years of pre-doctoral work experience in design and implementation of maternal and child nutrition programmes including the Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (BFHI) and breastfeeding support groups; and capacity building for health workers and technical assistance to health facilities/districts in Uganda. Florence is a qualified trainer/facilitator on various Uganda Ministry of Health nutrition courses for health workers, including Integrated Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling, and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. She previously managed the Nutrition and Food Security Programme at Baylor-Uganda.

Americas

Maria Carmen Collado, PhD

M. Carmen Collado, PhD in Biotechnology (2005, Polytechnic University of Valencia-UPV, Valencia, Spain); Adjunct Professor (2007-now) at the University of Turku, Finland and Research Scientist (2012-now) at Dept. Biotechnology, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology-Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), Valencia, Spain.

Her research work is multidisciplinary and includes microbiology, food science and nutrition areas. Her interests are focused on probiotics, microbiota and nutrition during pregnancy and early life period. Her team investigates the impact of early exposures (perinatal, environmental and genetic factors) on maternal microbiota and breast milk components (IgA, immune markers, metabolites, microbiota) and their impact on infant microbiota and health effects at short- and long-term.

Mariana Colmenares Castaño, MD IBCLC

Mariana Colmenares Castaño was born in Mexico City, and from an early age she was fascinated by animals and nature. She studied medicine at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and found her passion as a pediatrician doing her residency at the National Pediatric Institute. With the birth of her first child, Mariana witnessed the lack of knowledge and commitment with breastfeeding and nutrition within the medical profession. This was her impetus to specialize in breastfeeding medicine. Certified as a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2011 by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE), she is currently a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and a proud founding member of the National Lactation Consultant Association of Mexico (ACCLAM), where she served on the Board of Directors as Education Coordinator (2014-2019). Regional coordinator for the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for the Región of Latinamerica (2018 to date) and board director for the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for 3 year period (2019-2022). As part of her continuing professional training she studied at the International Breastfeeding Clinic, in Toronto CA.

Mariana is a member of the team for Breastfeeding Country Index BFCI, a project from Yale University and Universidad Iberoamericana whose goal is to develop an evidence base metric that can help decision-makers to understand the current status to elevate breastfeeding programs and increase breastfeeding rates. Member of the The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML). A frequent speaker at national and international conferences (plenary speaker at ILCA 2018), she has published numerous articles and co-authored a chapter for the National Academy of Medicine. To contribute to a medical profession better prepared to support breastfeeding, she teaches medical students at the National University of México and serves as a consultant for the National Health Institute and UNICEF.

Larisse Melo, MSc
Larisse Melo received her Dietetics degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN – Natal, Brazil), and during four of her undergraduate years, she worked as a research assistant assessing the nutritional composition of breast milk in nursing women from Natal, Brazil. She completed her MSc degree in Human Nutrition at The University of British Columbia (UBC – Vancouver, Canada) in 2019, under the supervision of Dr. Yvonne Lamers. Her Master’s project aimed to develop and test novel food products fortified with B-vitamins to help reduce the prevalence of vitamin inadequacies in Canadians. During her MSc, she was awarded with the ISRHML Trainee Travel Fund, and received further training on the analysis of several vitamins in breast milk at Dr. Lindsay Allen’s research group at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Davis, California. Currently, Larisse is a Sessional Instructor at UBC Vancouver, where she teaches “Applied International Nutrition” and “Vitamins, Minerals and Health”, and continues to contribute to several projects in Dr. Yvonne Lamers’ research group. Larisse is currently the ISRHML Trainee Representative for the Region of the Americas and is very excited to organize the webinars for this region, as well as to increase engagement of Latin American researchers, health professionals and students with ISRHML.

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. He is the PI of the Yale-Griffin CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC). His global public health nutrition and food security research program has contributed to improvements in breastfeeding and other maternal, infant and young child nutrition outcomes, iron deficiency anemia among infants, household food security, and early child development. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes in vulnerable communities. He has published over 240 research articles, 3 books/monographs, and numerous journal supplements, book chapters, and technical reports. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (elected in 2019) and served in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board from 2012-18. He has been a senior advisor to maternal-child community nutrition programs as well as household food security measurement projects funded by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the U.S. Agency for International Development, The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH),The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Governments in Latin America & Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe . He obtained his BS in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and his MS in Food Science and his PhD in Nutrition from the University of California at Davis. His postdoctoral training at UC Davis focused on the link between nutrition and early childhood development.


Europe

Magnus Domellöf, PhD

Magnus Domellöf is Professor of Pediatrics at the Department of Clinical Sciences Umeå University and Senior consultant in Neonatology at Umeå University Hospital, Sweden. He received his PhD degree in 2001 at Umeå University in collaboration with the University of California, Davis. He is currently leading several large research projects related to neonatology, paediatric nutrition and neurodevelopment with the aim to find early interventions that will improve long-term health in children. Prof Domellöf currently has more than 180 publications in international, scientific journals and an h-index of 33. He is the chair of the Committee on Nutrition of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Recent appointments include associate editor for the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (JPGN) and membership of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences National Committee for Nutrition and Food Science. He has organized or co-organized a large number of national and international scientific meetings and educational events on topics relating to pediatric nutrition, gastroenterology and neonatology.

Melissa Theurich, PhD cand.
Melissa Theurich is a doctoral researcher at the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (LMU) Medical Center in Germany, under the mentorship of Prof. Berthold Koletzko. The focus of her research is on commercial complementary food use in European infants and children. Melissa graduated from LMU with a Master of Public Health and received her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition. She is also an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).  Melissa works as a consultant and technical advisor for international development and United Nations agencies at national and global levels including with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the German International Development Cooperation (GIZ) and others.  Her research focus is on women’s reproductive health, infant and young child feeding, and nutrition policy.



Eastern Mediterranean

Marija Djekic-Ivankovic, PhD

Dr Djekic-Ivankovic is a pharmacist who completed her PhD in biochemistry and nutrition at the University of Belgrade in collaboration with McGill University. She obtained her Master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Belgrade where after one year of residency she became licenced pharmacist. She then applied her expertise in the field of nutrition to global health issues at the Institute of Medical Research in Serbia. Dr Djekic-Ivankovic worked on large scale international projects (EuroFIR, BaseFood and ODIN-VIT D) dedicated to improving health via nutrition research. Her PhD research focused on Vitamin D in maternal and child health, paved the way to a proposed national vitamin D food fortification program in Serbia. As a part of her postdoctoral experience, she has worked at the McGill RI-MUHC and for Osteoporosis Canada. Her research interest is translational research and education for health prevention, promotion and protection focused on maternal and child health, including breastfeeding. Currently, Dr Djekic-Ivankovic is a research associate in the School of Population and Global Health of McGill University. 

Daniel Sellen, PhD

Dan trained in zoology & biological anthropology (MA, University of Oxford), anthropology (MA, University of Michigan), theoretical ecology & international nutrition (PhD, University of California, Davis) & evolutionary demography (Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, University College London,). Daniel Sellen currently directs The Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition as Distinguished Professor of Anthropology & Global Health in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Professor of Nutritional Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, & Professor of Social & Behavioral Health Sciences in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

 

South-East Asia

Zhenghong Li, MD

Dr. Zhenghong Li is a pediatrician from Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China. She has been working at PUMCH for 20 years and was promoted as vice director of the Department of Pediatrics in PUMCH in 2014. Her research focuses on neonatology and gastrointestinal diseases. She is the vice Chairman of Committee of Youth of Beijing Medical Association of Pediatrics, and the vice Chairman of Committee of Youth of Beijing Medical Association of Preterm and Preterm Medicine, Gastroenterology Committee member of Beijing Medical Association of Pediatrics, member of Committee of Youth and Gastroenterology Committee member of Chinese Medical Association of Pediatrics. She has conducted clinical studies about the nutrition of preterm infants, and built the Beijing Cooperative Multicenter Preterm Infants Network and the Association of Neonatologists in Huabei Area in China. Now, she is conducting a multi-center clinical study about late preterm infants. She was a visiting research scientist in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center from 2012 to 2013, and attended Intermediate Improvement Science Series (I2S2) Course in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center from 2017 to 2018. She also built the first human milk bank in Beijing, and announced the first standard of human milk bank in China in 2020.

Wei Wei Pang, PhD

Wei Wei Pang is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Her work in NUS has thus far focused on child health outcomes, such as neurocognition and eating behaviours, in relation to breastfeeding practices in the Singapore birth cohort study (GUSTO). Recently, she also started to investigate if, and why, some mothers are unable to produce enough milk for their child.

Nurul Husna Mohd Shuri, PhD, B.Sc, M.Sc

Dr Nurul Shukri is an educator and researcher working at Universiti Putra Malaysia. She obtained her PhD at University College London, where she conducted a trial investigating mother-infant relationship through physiological and psychological signaling during breastfeeding using relaxation therapy. This includes the investigation of bioactive factors in breast milk, mainly hormone. Currently, she also ventures into genetic materials in milk and the relation with infant growth and behaviour. Dr Nurul also serves as a nutritionist and lactation counselor, based in Malaysia. Beside academics, she is also an avid basketballer, actively playing the sport since her school days and now, also coaches one of the female team at her university.

 

Western Pacific

Donna Geddes, PhD
Professor Geddes is a lactation biologist, with a major focus on the mechanisms by which breastfeeding programme early and later life health outcomes. She leads a large group that works in the areas of human milk microbiome, metabolomics, biochemistry and physiology.

Alexandra George, PhD

Alexandra’s research focuses on the human milk lipidome, using mass spectrometry based lipidomics to interrogate the impact of lipids on infant growth, development and health. She has recently completed her PhD at The University of Western Australia.


 

 

 


 

 

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