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NYLCA Lunch & Learn: Human Milk & Covid-19

Dr. Rebecca Powell will be telling us about her groundbreaking research:
The SARS-CoV-2 immune response in human milk has not yet been examined, though protecting infants and young children from COVID-19 is critical for limiting community transmission, and preventing serious illness and death. Just as NYC was shutting down in early April 2020 during its COVID-19 peak, the human milk immunology lab headed by Dr. Rebecca Powell at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai began to rapidly enroll local participants into a novel study of the SARS-CoV-2 immune response in human milk. This presentation will describe this study and its early results, which so far indicate a robust antibody response in milk, signifying that continued research is highly warranted to understand if and how breastfed infants are protected by this response, and determine the potential for exploiting extracted milk antibody for therapeutic use.
This is a free event, but registration is required and audience size is limited.
CERPs have been applied for from IBLCE.
Rebecca Powell, Ph.D., CLC is an Assistant Professor in the department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She received her PhD in Microbiology from the Sackler Institute, New York University School of Medicine, and her CLC from the Healthy Children Project. Her doctoral research focused on the genomic analysis of HIV in the epicenter of the HIV pandemic, West-Central Africa. Her early post-doctoral research was performed at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Design and Development Lab, where she was involved in the design and testing of replicating viral vector against HIV. Dr. Powell’s background in HIV research brought her to join a team of HIV researchers at Mount Sinai, where she first found her niche studying the impact of the cellular immune response in milk on mitigating mother-to-child transmission of HIV via breastfeeding. The overarching goals of Dr. Powell’s research program are to understand the human milk immune response to infection and vaccination, and to design vaccines aimed to enhance this response. Dr. Powell currently has several active projects aimed to fill knowledge gaps about human milk immunology, exploring: the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection to determine its potential to protect breastfed babies and as a COVID-19 therapeutic; the antibody response to influenza vaccination; and the design of maternal vaccines to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV via breastfeeding. Dr. Powell lives in Brooklyn with her partner and 3 children.
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