Early nutrition and immune development
This theme of work originated over a decade ago in our novel observation that season of birth in rural Gambia strongly predicts adult mortality from infection-relation causes. Work that followed included a series of studies to test the hypothesis that malnutrition at critical periods of immune development may have long-lasting consequences on functional immunity, and to explore the underlying biological mechanism(s). Early studies on immune ‘programming’ were primarily observational in nature, using either prospective birth studies or longitudinal follow up of historical cohorts with birth records available. We have now moved beyond these observational studies to proof-of-concept trials, testing direct links between nutritional exposures and immune outcomes.
Selected ongoing studies:
- A randomised trial to investigate the effects of pre-natal and in infancy nutritional supplementation on infant immune development in rural Gambia (The ENID Trial: Early Nutrition and Immune Development). ISRCTN49285450
- A Randomized Controlled Trial in Human Neonates to Determine the Effect of Vitamin A Supplementation on Immune Responses (The neonatal Vitamin A Study ‘NNVAS’) NCT01476358
- Impact of fetal/post-natal undernutrition on thymic development and the post-natal maturation and homeostasis of naïve T-cells and B-cells
- Nutrition-vaccine interactions
- Natural Killer cells as effectors of vaccine-induced immunity