The world’s first chair in human lactology in biochemistry was established at The University of Western Australia (UWA) School of Molecular Sciences with an endowment from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF).

The Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Chair in Human Lactology is dedicated to the exploration of how breastmilk instructs immune development and guides long-term immune health. A major objective of the research is to identify the factors that may bestow breastfeeding with the capacity to prevent allergic and metabolic diseases as effectively as it does for infectious diseases. FLRF donated AUD 8.6 million to establish the chair.

Current explorations include:
• Uncover how to increase the chance of allergy prevention by breastfeeding
• Determine whether colostrum plays a specific role in the set-up of immune and metabolic health
• Explore the new paradigm of infant immunisation by breastfeeding

“I am fascinated by the magic of breastmilk, a gift from Nature still with many unknowns and assumptions. The research of my team aims at providing outstanding scientific knowledge arising from translational research on the influence of breastmilk on long-term health. Ultimately, I aspire for our research to guide evidence-based recommendations for maternal and/or child interventions that will increase the chance of optimal health through breastfeeding.” – Valérie Verhasselt, MD, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Science, School of Molecular Sciences and inaugural holder of the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Chair in Human Lactology, The University of Western Australia

Further reading

Rekima A, Bonnart C, Macchiaverni P, Metcalfe J, Tulic MK, Halloin N, et al. A role for early oral exposure to house dust mite allergens through breastmilk in IgE-mediated food allergy susceptibility. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Jan 16. pii: S0091-6749(20)30035-X. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.12.912. [Epub ahead of print]

van den Elsen LWJ, Verhasselt V, Egwang T. Malaria antigen shedding in the breast milk of mothers from a region with endemic malaria. JAMA Pediatr. 2020; Jan 6. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5209. [Epub ahead of print]

Verhasselt V, Genuneit J, Metcalfe JR, Tulic MK, Rekima A, Palmer DJ et al. Ovalbumin in breastmilk is associated with a decreased risk of IgE-mediated egg allergy in children. Allergy. 2019; Dec 6. DOI: 10.1111/all.14142. [Epub ahead of print]

van den Elsen LWJ, Garssen J, Burcelin R, Verhasselt V. Shaping the Gut Microbiota by Breastfeeding: The Gateway to Allergy Prevention? Front Pediatr. 2019;7:47. DOI: 10.3389/fped.2019.00047. eCollection 2019.

Munblit D, Verhasselt V, Warner JO. Editorial: Human Milk Composition and Health Outcomes in Children. Front Pediatr. 2019;7:319. DOI: 10.3389/fped.2019.00319. eCollection 2019.

Macchiaverni P, Baiz N, Rekima A, Annesi-Maesano I, Verhasselt V. Reply. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2019;143(2):808-9.

de Silva D, Halken S, Singh C, Muraro A, Angier E, Arasi S, et al. Preventing immediate-onset food allergy in infants, children and adults: Systematic review protocol. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2019. DOI: 10.1111/pai.13177. [Epub ahead of print]

Blyuss O, Cheung KY, Chen J, Parr C, Petrou L, Komarova A, et al. Statistical Approaches in the Studies Assessing Associations between Human Milk Immune Composition and Allergic Diseases: A Scoping Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(10). DOI: 10.3390/nu11102416.

Renz H, Adkins BD, Bartfeld S, Blumberg RS, Farber DL, Garssen J, et al. The neonatal window of opportunity-early priming for life. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2018;141(4):1212-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.11.019. Epub 2017 Dec 14.