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Aline Davias, a PhD student in Environmental Epidemiology at the University of Grenoble Alpes France, recently concluded her 3 month visiting studentship at Dr Kozyrkyj’s SyMBIOTA lab at the University of Alberta.

In early 2023 Aline was awarded the IDEX studentship from the University of Grenoble Alpes. “My research interests are in environmental exposure to chemicals, gut microbiota and how it impacts child health. I had heard of Dr Kozyrskyj’s microbiome research through reading one of the teams recent publication on gut microbiota and neurodevelopment (Tamana et al. 2021) and I decided to get in touch.”

Using data collected from CHILD Study participants and microbiome data from the SyMBIOTA team, Aline’s project investigated whether gut microbiome and secretory immunoglobulin A in early life were associated with Bayley Cognitive Scores in childhood. “This was a perfect fit given my background in epidemiology and allowed me to expand my data analysis skill on mediation.” comments Aline. “It’s been great to work with Dr Kozyrskyj and her team and learn some new skills that will help me further with my PhD studies.”

Aline has also had the opportunity to experience some new activities outside the lab too, having spent time in the Rockies and exploring neighboring British Columbia.

“It’s been fantastic to have Aline join our team over the last few months. We’ve benefited greatly from her expert analysis and personal contributions to the team. We wish her all the best with her future career.” comments Dr Kozyrskyj.

Aline Davias (second left) and Dr Kozyrskyj (fourth on left).

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The Women and Childrens Health Research Institute (WCHRI) in Edmonton, Alberta has highlighted important new research conducted by SyMBIOTA lab trainee Carmen Tessier. Her work on maternal distress during pregnancy, infant microbiome and neurodevelopment has revealed that infants born to moms who were distressed during the pre- or postnatal period had significantly higher levels of C. difficile bacteria in their guts and this was linked to lower cognitive and language test scores in childhood. Visit here to read the full article.

Tessier’s research was part of her master’s degree in medical sciences, supervised by SyMBIOTA lead, Dr Anita Kozyrskyj using data from the CHILD Study.

A novel study published in mSystems special issue has provided new evidence that living near to natural green space in infancy may reduce a child's risk of developing inhalant allergies in early childhood and that it may be mediated by gut microbes.

The study on 699 children from the Edmonton site of the CHILD Study found that living near natural green space was protective against the development of multiple inhalant allergies at age 3 years. This association appeared to be mediated by changes to Actinobacteria diversity in infant stools samples taken at 4 months of age. The findings highlight the importance of promoting natural urban greenspace preservation to improve child health by reducing atopic disease susceptibility and point to a novel causal role of reduced Actinobacteria diversity on atopic sensitization development.

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