Research seminar: December 2, 2016

Breast Milk Digestion in Premature Infants

December 12, 2016

David Dallas, PhD
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
Faculty profile

The overall goal of Dr. Dallas’s research is improve the health of premature infants. These infants have been shown to have greatly reduced health outcomes (including early mortality, developmental disorders, high risk of infection, etc.) in comparison with term-delivered, breast milk-fed infants.

The greatly reduced digestive capability of premature infants means that these infants are not breaking down milk proteins in the same way as term infants and may, therefore, be missing many bioactive peptides and glycopeptides encrypted in human milk proteins. This difference in digestive capacity may mean that premature infants are not receiving the full health benefits of milk.

His work includes developing mass spectrometry-based peptidomic techniques to assess proteins as they are digested and is currently exploring how various types of proteins and food processing techniques alter protein digestibility.