CSCI names UM child health researcher 2020 Young Investigator
Dr. Meghan Azad, associate professor of pediatrics and child health at the Max Rady College of Medicine has been named as winner of the 2020 Joe Doupe Young Investigator Award by the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation (CSCI), an Ottawa-based organization that represents young health-care researchers across Canada.
Azad, 37, holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease and co-directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC) at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM).
“It’s a big honour” Azad says. “And it’s a recognition of great teamwork. My body of research has been achieved with a huge team of people – including trainees, collaborators, research staff and mentors across Canada and internationally.”
The UM alumna has been with the faculty since 2014 and is involved in several national and international initiatives studying infant nutrition. She co-leads the Manitoba site of the CHILD Cohort Study, a national study tracking nearly 3,500 Canadian infants and their families, including 1,000 in Manitoba, to help determine the root causes of chronic diseases such as asthma, allergies and obesity. She is currently leading a study on the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among the CHILD families, and co-leading the new International Perinatal Outcomes in the Pandemic (iPOP) Study.
She is also co-director of the new International Milk Composition (IMiC) Consortium, a global initiative for which she received a $6.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earlier this year. The project will undertake a comprehensive analysis of human milk components linked to infant growth and resilience, in order to inform maternal and infant nutrition recommendations and interventions.
Azad also serves on the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Executive Council and the joint US/Canada Human Milk Composition Initiative.
The CSCI award consists of a free one-year membership to CSCI, a plaque, $1,000 cash prize and an opportunity to present the Joe Doupe Annual Lecture, which will be held Nov. 12 in an online format due to COVID-19 restrictions. The lecture is part of a two-day annual scientific meeting held by CSCI in association with the Clinician Investigator Trainee Association of Canada.
“I think the lecture will be a nice opportunity to communicate our research to a broader audience, both the results so far and what we’re working on now,” Azad says.