Examining the role of breastmilk in determining type 1 diabetes risk

Baby breastfeeding

We’re pleased to share that Dr Satvika Burugupalli is one of several researchers from across the country who will share in $3m in funding from JDRF Australia and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to undertake research aimed at providing insights into how type 1 diabetes develops.

Dr Burugupalli was in Canberra this month alongside the Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler, and JDRF Australia, for the announcement of this funding.

This support will allow Dr Burugupalli to explore how components in breastmilk impact the infant immune system and gut microbiome.

Her research is being undertaken in collaboration with the Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) Study, the world’s first study from pregnancy investigating how the environment interacts with an individual’s genes to drive the development of islet autoimmunity and onset of type one diabetes.

The new round of funding will give select researchers within Australia and globally the opportunity to collaborate with the ENDIA Study and access these resources as they investigate novel concepts about how type 1 diabetes develops.

Dr Burugupalli is seeking to understand how breastmilk composition, infant gut microbiome, and immune system development are connected to the progression of type 1 diabetes. The collaborative team will analyse the composition of breastmilk in mother-infant pairs, looking for links between breastmilk components, maternal diet and type 1 diabetes status, infant gut microbiome and type 1 diabetes risk. The main goal is to find prevention strategies to reduce type 1 diabetes risk.

This work continues the Institute’s increasing research in the type 1 diabetes space.

/Baker Institute Public Release. View in full here.