Human milk oligosaccharides and Preemie Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Rachael Buck, Ph.D., Research Fellow at Abbott discusses necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies and the pre-clinical study from Johns Hopkins and Abbott, that was published in “Pediatric Research” that showed for the first time that certain human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) can prevent the development of NEC. 

Rachael Buck, Ph.D., is an Associate Research Fellow at Abbott and works on the forefront of infant nutrition. As a discovery scientist in the field of immune health, Rachael studies the components of breast milk to help Abbott nutritionists develop infant formulas that are as close as possible to breast milk. She designs clinical trials to study the effects of these nutrients on babies’ development in the first year of life.Currently, Rachael is leading the pioneering research program for human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). HMOs are beneficial, prebiotic- like nutrients found in breast milk that support intestinal and overall health. Abbott has driven the clinical research behind HMOs for more than 20 years, paving the way for this breakthrough ingredient to be added to infant formulas. The research on HMOs has demonstrated improved immunity benefits similar to breast fed infants. Preclinical research also shows HMOs reduce intestinal discomfort, reduce food allergy symptoms, and enhance cognition, which may lead to diverse health benefits for infants. Rachael joined Abbott in 1995 and over her career has received numerous prestigious Abbott awards for her research on nucleotides, pediatric immunity and HMOs. She was also named an Associate Research Fellow for her pioneering work. She has authored 51 journal articles and filed 55 patents. Rachael received her Ph.D. degree in immunology from the University of Cambridge, U.K.

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