15 May 2020
Dr Sophie Moore, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM and Reader at King’s College London has been awarded a 5-year Senior Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to study micronutrient interventions to improve infant neurocognitive development and growth in early infancy.
Undernutrition during the early years of life has a harmful and irreversible impact on child growth and cognitive development. Many of the interventions tested to improve outcomes across infancy have had disappointing or inconsistent impact, a common feature being the absence of any attempts to provide nutritional supplements to infants during the first six months.
Building on this evidence gap, the research supported by this Fellowship will centre on an efficacy trial in rural Gambia, randomizing women (during pregnancy and/or pregnancy and lactation) and their infants (in the first six months of life, while exclusively breastfeeding) to a combination of micronutrients required for healthy growth and development.
The primary outcome will be infant brain development, using an optical imaging method (functional near infrared spectroscopy, fNIRS) validated as part of the ongoing BRIGHT study in Keneba. Growth, morbidity and infant neurocognitive development will be assessed up to the point the infants reach 12 months age.
On receiving the Fellowship Dr Moore said “I feel both thrilled and honoured to have received this funding award from the Wellcome Trust, and look forward to starting this exciting trial in collaboration with the MRCG at LSHTM”.
Professor Andrew Prentice, Nutrition Theme Leader at the MRCG at LSHTM said “Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowships are highly competitive so we are delighted to congratulate Dr Moore on her achievement. In addition to being one of the Unit’s Honorary Senior Research Fellows, Sophie was Head of Station for MRCG Keneba for over 6 years, and has led a number of seminal studies there. Sophie’s study will dovetail neatly with a recent Programme Grant award from MRC that will further investigate the importance of preconceptional nutrition of the mother. Together, they further our goal of designing optimal nutritional interventions for lifelong health.”
The Wellcome Trust’s Senior Research Fellowships support independent researchers who are emerging as global leaders in their field and want to tackle the most important questions in science.