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The bugs that shape us: host - microbe interactions during and after pregnancy and in offspring

Pregnant individuals make significant physiological adaptations to pregnancy and it has been proposed that these changes involve the maternal gut microbiome. In these studies we investigate the relationship between the pregnant gut microbiome and maternal adaptations to pregnancy and how different early life conditions impact placental and fetal development. These studies are part of our long-term goal of determining the underlying early life precipitating factors that confer an increased risk of chronic disease later in life.
Parental factors impact placental development and function

Parental factors contribute the growth and development of the placenta; an organ at the interface between the maternal and fetal environments. Placental growth and development is vulnerable to the intrauterine environment, adapting to hormonal and inflammatory signals, modifying its growth and function. We investigate the influence of both paternal and maternal lineages in the development of the placenta, and which paternal and maternal factors influence implantation, and placental signalling pathways that together,  modulate the intrauterine environment.  
The Art of Creation Study: a Science Translation Project

he translation of complex and sensitive topics into digestible messages to the public is difficult. Translating the Early Origins concepts requires a multi-pronged approach because discussions of the Early Origins of Health may be perceived as placing undue blame or responsibility on either pregnant individuals, or equity-seeking groups whom already have higher risks of living with, or dying of chronic disease. In partnership with the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art of Creation is an arts-based science translation program and public exhibition that uses art to explain the importance of being healthy before and during pregnancy to the public, policy makers, and social and healthcare providers. We use art as a tool and the Art Gallery as an initiator to fuel conversations about a healthy start to life, and provide an empowering environment to support and promote healthy behaviours in both pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. 
Check out the Art of Creation exhibition and our website for more information.
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Canadian Teenagers and COVID 19: CanTec19

Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted adolescent transitions and habits is important in order to promote and support health. We used teenagers' own perspectives and ideas as well as ideas from our local connections and partners (e.g. The Art Gallery of Hamilton) to develop ways that we can support teenagers during COVID-19. These may include sending updates about COVID-19 rules that are easier to understand or more exciting to follow, offering ways teenagers can share their thoughts and experiences of the pandemic, or suggesting ways that school programming and resources can better support teenagers. Check out our final published manuscript here
Teenage Girls with Masks
Engaging the community and having an impact:
The Mothers to Babies Study (M2B) Take a look here

Studies in vulnerable populations suggest that behavioural interventions can be effective in improving diet and lifestyle but that such interventions tend to be intensive and expensive. It may be more effective therefore to intervene during pregnancy, where we will have the most benefit to the next generation. Little is known about how best to engage and support women at this stage of lifecourse. The M2B Study team ​​comprised an interdisciplinary group of maternal and child health researchers, with interests in developing public health interventions that will reduce inequities in health knowledge and nutrition-related behaviour during pregnancy. In collaboration with Community groups that service pregnant women in Hamilton ON, we worked with pregnant individuals to develop a recommendations for health care workers, and services that work with pregnant people in Hamilton to reduce barriers and promote health behaviours. Check our our M2B papers
M2B Mothers to Babies
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