WG1: Biomedicine

_DSC8497

Working group one
Biomedicine

Epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis in relation to intrapartum events, and associations with longer term non-communicable diseases.

Chair: Professor Mechthild Gross gross.mechthild@mh-hannover.de
Co-chair: Jean Calleja-Agius jean.calleja-agius@um.edu.mt

Working Group 1 will undertake: longitudinal (matched) cohort studies, in a range of settings and population groups, mapping the epigenomic and gut flora characteristics of neonates to pregnancy and intrapartum interventions and activities (such as social support, mode of birth, spontaneous unmedicated labour onset and progress, labour induction, pharmacological pain relief, routine use of antibiotics, skin to skin processes, breast feeding and formula feeding), to assess patterns of epigenetic changes/of gut flora characteristics that might be associated with different labour and birth events; longitudinal studies that link any such patterns with patterns of positive or adverse behavioural characteristics/ health events in the child, and the later adult.

Mapping of the epigenetic characteristics of a straightforward emotionally happy pregnancy resulting in spontaneous onset and progress of labour, normal birth, and effective breastfeeding and mothering on specific epigenetic gene receptors in the infant and the mother, including the OXY sites, as well as general mapping of the epigenome in a cohort of women and babies using current advances in global genomic mapping, based on blood and salivary samples.

Examination of the maternal and neonatal and staff skin microbiome, and of neonatal faecal tissue for the characteristics of the microbiotia in this circumstance, as a baseline for studies of what happens when pregnancy and labour is not straightforward. Set up of linked studies between these cohorts and behavioural, sociological, organizational, ethical and neurophysiological studies going on via the other.

Working Group 1 is linking to currently ongoing longitudinal cohort studies, in a range of settings and population groups:

  1. Getting a current understanding of the normal physiological processes including gut-brain-microbiota axis in terms of maternal and neonatal health.
  2. Mapping the epigenomics and gut-microbiota characteristics of neonates to pregnancy and intrapartum interventions and activities (such as social support, mode of birth, spontaneous unmedicated labour onset and progress, labour induction, use of oxytocin and delivery outcome, pharmacological pain relief, routine use of antibiotics, skin to skin processes, breast feeding and formula feeding).
  3. Assessing patterns of epigenetic changes (e.g. gut microbiota characteristics) that might be associated with different labour and birth events and may affect early and late health.
  4. Longitudinal studies that link any such patterns with patterns of positive or adverse behavioural characteristics/ health events in the child and the later adult.
  5. Mapping of the epigenetic characteristics of a straightforward emotionally happy pregnancy resulting in spontaneous onset and progress of labour, normal birth, and effective breastfeeding and mothering on specific epigenetic gene receptors in the infant and the mother as well as general mapping of the epigenome in a cohort of women and babies using current advances in global genomic mapping, based on blood and salivary samples. Examination of the maternal and neonatal and staff skin microbiome, and of neonatal faecal tissue for the characteristics of the microbiotia in this circumstance, as a baseline for studies of what happens when pregnancy and labour is not straightforward.
  6. Setting up of linked studies between these cohorts and behavioural, sociological, organizational, environmental, ethical and neurophysiological studies going on via the other WGs, to map whole systems.

WG1 News

WG1 members were involved in the Valencia training school. The training school page is here.


WG1 Reports

[NOTE: You can read all the reports from all the working groups on the Publications & Outputs page here]

WG1: Biomedicine

Report: Published in Clinical Nutrition Experimental, is titled Perinatal nutrition: How to take care of the gut microbiota? by Izaskun García-Mantrana, Bibiana Bertua, Cecilia Martínez-Costa and Maria Carmen Collado. You can download the pdf here.

Report: Published in Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, is titled The human milk microbiome and factors influencing its composition and activity. This article was written by Carlos Gomez-Gallego, Izaskun Garcia-Mantrana, Seppo Salminen and María Carmen Collado. You can download the pdf here.

WG1 (Jan 2017): Download report as a pdf.

WG1: The Complexity of Prenatal and Perinatal Experience: Why Trauma and How To Heal a paper by Olga Gouni from 1st International Congress on Psychological Trauma: Prenatal, Perinatal & Postnatal can be downloaded here as a pdf.

WG1: ARTfeeding the (un)born Baby a paper by Olga Gouni can be downloaded as a pdf here.


150825_Mechthild-1 bw crop

Mechthild M Gross
Hannover Medical School
Disciplinary background: Midwifery

Mechthild holds a degree in nursing and midwifery, a Masters degree in psychology, a PhD, and a postdoctoral thesis (Habilitation). Since 1989 she has been involved in research and clinical practice in midwifery. In collaboration with the German Midwifery Association she has organised annual research workshops for midwives in Germany for nearly 20 years.

She has been head of the European Master of Science in Midwifery at Hannover Medical School since its inception in 2009. At present she is the principal investigator for the German part of the OptiBIRTH-study which aims to improve the organisation of maternal health service delivery, and optimising childbirth, by increasing vaginal birth after caesarean section through enhanced women-centred care in Germany. Previous research projects (grants from the German Research Council, the European Union, and the Scientific Ministry of North-Rhine Westphalia) included cascades of interventions, duration of labour.

Mechthild is a founding member of the International Early Labour Research Group and served as a vice president of the German Society of Midwifery Science (DGHWi) for several years.

She has been the vice chair of the COST Action IS0907: Childbirth Cultures, Concerns, and Consequences: Creating a Dynamic EU Framework for Optimal Maternity Care.

Mechthild is based in a clinical environment at a tertiary university hospital and continues to practice as a midwife twice a week, while also holding editorial and reviewing commitments for various medical and midwifery journals and supervising PhD students.


Jean bw

Dr Jean Calleja-Agius
University of Malta
Disciplinary background: Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Dr Jean Calleja-Agius graduated as a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Malta in 1999. She further specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, both locally and at University College London Hospital (UCLH). She obtained her Memberships of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, on her first attempt in 2005.

From an early stage in her career, Dr Calleja-Agius showed a keen interest in research and teaching on all aspects of reproductive sciences. She was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in 2000, and since then has been teaching medical students, post-graduate trainees and other health professionals. She is an Instructor in Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) UK and organised 1st ALSO course in Malta in July 2011 for training obstetricians and midwives. She also organises the MRCOG Part 1 Basic Science Course for junior doctors at Mater Dei Hospital, Malta.

She has numerous peer-reviewed research articles published in international high impact journals. She obtained her PhD (without corrections) at University College London (UCL) in February 2012. The title of her thesis is ‘The Role of Pro- and Anti-inflammatory Cytokines in Early Pregnancy’. Her research involved investigation of the association between systemic and placental cytokines and miscarriages in human pregnancy. Her research supervisors were Professor Eric Jauniaux (UCL) and Dr Shanthi Muttukrishna (UCL/UCC), both of whom are eminent researchers in the field of women’s health. The PhD examiners were Prof Lesley Regan from Imperial College (London) and Prof Siobhan Quenby from University of Warwick, who are both world authorities in the field of miscarriages and pregnancy complications.

Her current research interests are reproductive immunology and epigenetics, especially in infertility and early pregnancy complications.


Working Group 1 members

Sally Tracy (Australia) sally.tracy@sydney.edu.au

Hannah Dahlen (Australia) hannahdahlen@optusnet.com.au University of Western Sydney

Elpida-Niki Emmanouil-Nikoloussi (Cyprus) E.Nikoloussi@euc.ac.cy European University of Cyprus

Eva Rydahl (Denmark) evry@phmetropol.dk Metropolitan Uni College Copenhagen

Marie Aline Charles (France) marie-aline.charles@inserm.fr Inserm

Jennifer Zeitlin (France) jennifer.zeitlin@inserm.fr

Mechthild Gross (Germany) Gross.Mechthild@mh-hannover.de Hannover Medical School

Hannah Gehling (Germany) Hanna.Gehling@stud.mh-hannover.de Hannover Medical School

Claire Gourounti (Greece) clairegourounti@yahoo.gr Technological Edu Institution of Athens

Georgia Kontossorou (Greece) g.kontosorou@gmail.com

Mihalis Moros (Greece) mmoros@med.uoa.gr Cosmoanelixis, Prenatal & Life Sciences

Olga Gouni (Greece) info@cosmoanelixis.gr Cosmoanelixis, Prenatal & Life Sciences

Ourania Koukoura (Greece) okoukoura@yahoo.com Larissa Hospital

Rallou Lymperi (Greece) rallou_l@hotmail.com

Stavros Glentis (Greece)

Dr Ronit Calderon-Margalit (Israel) ronitcm@gmail.com

Heidi Preis (Israel) heidibracp@mail.tau.ac.il

Federico Mecacci (Italy) federico.mecacci@unifi.it Director Mat & Fetal Med Careggi University Hospital

Dr Jean Calleja Agius (Malta) jean.calleja-agius@um.edu.mt University of Malta

Silvia Leite Rodreigues (Portugal) silvialeiterodrigues@gmail.com University of Minho

Maria Carmen Collado (Spain) mcolam@iata.csic.es Unit of Probiotics & Lactic Acid Bacteria

Dr Malin Almgren (Sweden) Malin.Almgren@ki.se Karolinska Institutet

Nicola Low (Switzerland) low@ispm.unibe.ch Institute of Social & Preventive Medicine, Berne

Prof Kemal Baysal MD PhD (Turkey) Kemal.baysal@deu.edu.tr

Marlene Sinclair (UK) m.sinclair1@ulster.ac.uk University of Ulster

Peter Brocklehurst (UK) p.brocklehurst@ucl.ac.uk UCL

Andee Agius (Malta) andee.agius.03@um.edu.mt University of Malta

Maria João Fonseca (Portugal) mjoaolfonseca@gmail.com

Professor Ronel Pretorius (South Africa) ronel.pretorius@nwu.ac.zw North West University

Naseerah Akooji


Advertisements