Is “breastfeeding always best”, or is human milk “conditionally perfect”?
Research in the Kelleher Lab is focused on understanding the molecular consequences of diet, genetics, and environmental exposures on human milk composition and lactation physiology. Our research utilizes human milk as a “liquid biopsy” of the lactating mammary gland to understand the functional capacity. We capitalize on functional genomics and utilize biomolecular studies in cultured mammary epithelial cells to probe molecular mechanisms that regulate mammary gland function, human milk composition and lactation biology.
Current projects in our lab focus on understanding the biology behind low milk supply and developing therapeutic approaches to improve milk production and composition.
Current efforts center around four themes:
1) Understanding effects of maternal genotype on lactation through functional characterization of genetic variants on mammary epithelial cell function
2) Determining roles of select miRNAs as biomolecular regulators of lactation biology
3) Identifying novel non-invasive biomarkers to diagnose and treat lactation-associated disorders
4) Developing dietary approaches to address low milk supply and poor composition