Yuri Bastos Moreira

CRIG member
Yuri Bastos Moreira

Doctoral fellow - Department of bioanalysis, Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology & Public Health 
Principal investigators: prof. Marthe De Boevre (PhD)prof. Sarah De Saeger (PhD) and prof. Carl Lachat (PhD)


Research focus

Maternal undernutrition is a public health challenge in many countries across Africa, and often results in poor birth outcomes such as preterm delivery and small-for- gestational- age newborns. The 2016 World Health Organization antenatal care guidelines suggests that pregnant women in undernourished nations should receive balanced energy-protein food supplementation. A food supplement was then developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016.  

The exposome is the totality of human environmental (i.e., non-genetic factors) exposures, starting from conception. The exposome and nutrition have a significant effect on maternal and newborn health.

In the present Biospecimen Study, pregnant women (n=300) in rural Burkina Faso were individually and randomly allocated to an intervention or a control group, during pregnancy and again in the post-natal period. The intervention group received a balanced energy-protein supplementation and the standard iron folic acid tablet, whereas the control group only received the tablet. Blood, urine, stool and breastmilk samples were collected from mothers-newborns pairs according to a well-defined sampling scheme. Biospecimen analyses provide the opportunity to identify biomarkers of, both exposure and effect, that can address questions in many areas of interest, including the impact of environmental exposure to toxic compounds, such as mycotoxins and black carbon, and the supplementation effect on aging markers like the telomere length. These hypotheses will be investigated through a poly-omic approach e.g., metabolomics, metagenomics, proteomics and adductomics. 

In this highly innovative study, capillary blood samples collected by volumetric absorptive microsampling (VAMS) will be used for the assessment of human exposure to multiple mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are significant to cancer research since long-term exposure can cause toxic effects such as genetic changes in target organs, resulting in cancer. Additionally, plasma and stool samples will be analysed by multi-omics profiling approaches wherein the results will unravel the discovery of useful biomarkers for cancer research.

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