The University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) jointly established the Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence (LRF MOMI CORE) at the UC San Diego School of Medicine to learn how breastmilk can help treat and prevent some of the world’s most deadly diseases.
Recent evidence has repeatedly shown that breastmilk provides far more than just nutrition for infants; instead, breastmilk is emerging as a powerful tool fundamental to fighting global killers such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and infectious superbugs. Yet historically, research into breastmilk has often been overlooked, curtailed or siloed.
Now, at LRF MOMI CORE, basic researchers, clinical practitioners and educators have the chance to develop a comprehensive understanding of breastmilk and its mechanisms through long-term, interdisciplinary research. Some of their core questions include:
• What exactly is in breastmilk?
• How does it work?
• Can it be leveraged to improve the health of all people at every stage of life?
“Our goal is to connect with and activate the world’s leading experts in research, clinical care and education to look to human milk for new answers. Together, we will be able to connect the dots and discover how breastmilk is positioned at the epicenter of the mother-milk-infant ‘triad’. Ultimately, we aim to leverage the generated knowledge and deep mechanistic understanding to improve health and development at every stage of life.”
– Lars Bode, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology and Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, and Director, LRF MOMI CORE, University of California San Diego.
One way LRF MOMI CORE facilitates multidisciplinary exploration into breastmilk is through annual pilot grants: MOMI SEEDS. Since 2018, MOMI SEEDS have been awarded to UC San Diego researchers from all areas of study, helping fund early-stage projects that advance our understanding of breastmilk and its impact on infant gut health, neurodevelopment, immune system development, viral and bacterial infectious diseases, epigenetics, liver disease and more.
FLRF donated USD 10.5 million to endow LRF MOMI CORE. Endowments facilitate financial independence in perpetuity, and thus enable academic organisations to accommodate panoramic research with long horizons.
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“014 The Milk Moonshot”, Interview with Lars Bode and Alan Daly, by Jennifer Grayson: see blog