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  • MaxiMoM

Congratulations to Dr. Megan Beggs who was awarded the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Megan Beggs, a post-doctoral fellow and member of the MaxiMoM study awarded prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship!

Optimizing nutrition for neurodevelopment in preterm infants

In preterm infants, especially those who weigh less than 1,500 g, providing optimal nutrition is essential. Often these infants are given parent and donor milk, but how can we optimize their feeds for better child outcomes? Dr. Megan Beggs, a post-doctoral fellow and member of the MaxiMoM study, is studying how individualized nutrition and trace elements and micronutrients in parent’s and donor milk affect infant’s growth and neurodevelopment.

From analyzing milk samples in the lab to conducting clinical research rounds to coordinating the provision of individualized feeds, collecting biological samples and discussing patient health with clinical teams, Beggs shifts from the lab to the beside frequently.

“We know that trace elements in milk are important, but we don't yet understand how that impacts metabolism and early development,” explains Beggs. “By measuring trace element content, infant intake and examining the impact after 18 months as one part of our larger study, I hope to describe a standard level of nutrients that will help preterm infants not just survive but thrive.”

The first person in her family to attend post-secondary education, Beggs became a Registered Dietitian with a focus on neonatal and paediatric critical care and pursued her PhD in physiology with a focus on neonatal nutrition before coming to work at SickKids with supervisor Dr. Deborah O’Connor, a Senior Associate Scientist in the Translational Medicine program.

“The ultimate purpose of our research is to improve infant care,” says O’Connor, who is also Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. “Blinded feeding studies are very uncommon, so experts like Megan are integral to the success of the research.”

View the full list of recently awarded Banting Fellows on the Government of Canada website.


This blog post has been adapted from an article originally posted by The Hospital for Sick Children


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