Interview with Upcoming Keynote Speaker, Dr. Andrew Bremer of the National Institutes of Health
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to be the chief of NIH’s Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch (PGNB)? What are your main goals there?
I joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a Medical Officer in November 2013 within the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases, and was appointed in May 2018 to be the Chief of the Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). I am a board-certified internist, pediatrician, and pediatric endocrinologist, and have a Ph.D. in pharmacology.
Prior to joining the NIH, I was an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. My areas of interest and expertise include pediatric and adult endocrine disorders, the impact of maternal diet and gestational obesity/diabetes on fetal programming, the developmental origins of health and disease, childhood obesity, and the role of nutrition in development throughout the life cycle. I am also the Acting Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch within NICHD and the Program Official for NICHD’s Neonatal Research Network. My main goal at NICHD is to support its mission to lead research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all.
What motivates you to do the work you do?
Human milk exemplifies precision nutrition, and I can’t think of a more noble goal than to support the generation of an evidence base to inform infant feeding practices and the nutritional requirements for infants and lactating women.
Why do you think pasteurized donor human milk and nonprofit milk banking are important?
They provide an option for infants to receive human milk when otherwise it may not be possible.
What's your experience with HMBANA and nonprofit milk banking, when or how did you first get to know us?
I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with HMBANA.
Have you attended or spoken at prior HMBANA conferences? And, if so, what was that like, do you have any take-away stories about your experience and what you learned there?
This is my first HMBANA conference.
Would you be willing to give us a sneak peek into your keynote session, “The BEGIN Concept: Breastmilk Ecology – the Genesis of Infant Nutrition”? What are you excited to share with us?
The objective of BEGIN is to encourage nutritional, biological, and social science research to expand our understanding of:
- The developmental origins of healthy mammary tissue
- Factors influencing the composition of human milk
- The nutritional, biological, and behavioral/psychological implications of breastfeeding for lactating mothers
- Factors influencing the choice, implementation, and sustainability of successful breastfeeding
- The short- and long-term impact of human milk on human health
Ultimately, by improving our understanding of the above, BEGIN will identify and make available the information and evidence needed for the development of nutritional guidance, reference standards, and recommendations for multiple aspects, including:
- Dietary guidance and nutrient requirements of infants and lactating women
- Reference standards for assessing lactation status/success
- The biological frame of reference for creating relevant safe, affordable, and efficacious human milk substitutes
- Recommendations for: (1) the duration of exclusive breastfeeding; (2) the safety and efficacy of pumped human milk; and (3) the safety and efficacy of donor/banked human milk
- Recommendations for maternal nutrition before and during lactation
Are there any other sessions or things you’re looking forward to in our upcoming conference?
I’m looking forward to the entire conference.
What haven’t I asked that you might want to share with us about yourself, your work, or the NIH PGNB?
It’s an honor for me to participate in the conference.
To register for the conference, go to our event page.