The fatty acids in human milk by Prof. Ardythe Morrow

During infancy, lipids are a crucial source of energy and fatty acids are the building blocks of lipids, they are formed by a chain of hydrocarbons that vary in length and in the presence of double bonds. In this interview, Prof. Ardythe Morrow gives an overview of the fatty acids in human milk: their composition, structure, and physiological effect on health.

Dr. Morrow is professor emerita at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she leads the human milk research laboratory and directs the CDC-funded PREVAIL birth cohort study and trials on human milk oligosaccharides and the microbiota. She obtained her MSc in nutrition at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, and her Ph.D. at the University of Texas in epidemiology. She has published more than 160 publications on infant nutrition and child health and is a leading expert in human milk composition.
Throughout her career, she focused on researching the protection of human milk against infectious and inflammatory gut disorders. This focus led her to conduct seminal research on the role of human milk oligosaccharides in infant health, the role of gene enzyme “fucosyltransferase2 (FUT2)” in the modification of human milk and infant gut oligosaccharides’ profiles, and ultimately, these components’ impact on infant disease and gut microbiota.
She founded two divisions of epidemiology and public health sciences in Virginia and Ohio, served as the PI of an NIH program project on human milk for 15 years, directed multiple NIH and CDC-funded studies in term and preterm infants, and conducted multi-site studies in multiple locations in the US, Mexico, and China. Altogether, Dr. Morrow has been awarded more than $25 million in grants from NIH, CDC, the industry, and several foundations. She served as President of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, and the director of two academic divisions. Also, she was a mentor on many training grants, as a reviewer on multiple grant study sections, and a participant on multiple expert panels and study sections including the NIH and Gates Foundations.