The Nutrition Theme within MRC Unit The Gambia has been awarded £925,000 to study epigenetic mechanisms linking maternal pre-conceptional micronutrient supplementation with offspring health. The grant was awarded by the Newton Fund in a joint initiative funded by MRC UK, the Indian Department of Biotechnology and the UK Department for International Development.
The study is led by Professor Caroline Fall from the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton, UK, with Co-PIs Dr Giriraj Chandak from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India and Dr Matt Silver from MRC Unit The Gambia.
The Gambian arm of the study, is for a period of 3 years, and will follow up children, now aged 7-8 years, whose mothers took part in the West Kiang Peri-conceptional Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation Trial. Nutrition-responsive epigenetic markers will be correlated with a range of health-related outcomes, including changes in body composition, cardio-metabolic risk markers and cognitive function. A major strength of the study will be the ability to compare findings across Indian and Gambian cohorts.
Gambian PI Dr Matt Silver, Investigator Scientist of the Nutrition Theme commented, “This study is an important element in our drive to understand how maternal nutrition around the time of conception can impact the offspring epigenome with potential consequences for health throughout the life course.”
About the Newton fund
The UK Newton Fund is a new government initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies. The Newton Fund was launched by the UK Chancellor in April 2014, and will provide £375 million funding over the course of five years, including several calls and initiatives run by the MRC. Find out more at www.mrc.ac.uk/research/international/the-newton-fund