The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation
The International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation


The Trainee Interest Group (TIG) Governing Committee (GC) is responsible for governing the affairs of ISRHML’s Trainee Interest Group. The TIG GC aims to connect trainees with each other, offer professional development opportunities, and build a sense of community among trainees. The TIG GC  consists of the TIG President, TIG President-Elect, TIG Secretary, Professional Development Coordinator, Newsletter and Blog Editor, Social Media and Communications Chair, Membership Chair, Global Representation Chair, and TIG Advisors. Learn more about this committee by viewing our standard operating procedures.

The ISRHML TIG GC organizes and develops activities aimed at supporting the academic and career development of our trainees. TIGers enjoy access to professional development webinars and a Slack working group, quarterly newsletters, networking and leadership opportunities, and more! ISRHML, in collaboration with the Family Larsson Rosenquist Foundation, also offers funding opportunities for TIGers to support travel, learning, and exchange at host institutions abroad.

President, 2023-2025: Noura El Habbal

Noura El Habbal, PhD, RD, is a registered dietitian and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Her research focuses on the mother-milk-infant triad by examining maternal nutrition during pregnancy, the human milk microbiome, and the infant gut microbiome and inflammatory response using clinical data from term and preterm infants. In addition to her clinical work, Noura’s research aims to explore the origins of the human milk microbiome using mouse models.

Noura earned her Ph.D. in 2022 from the University of Michigan in Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition, where her research focused on investigating the human milk lipidomic and macronutrient profile by infant sex and its role in shaping infant adiposity during the first two years of life. Using mouse models, her doctoral work also investigated the effect of maternal stress and obesity on placental and mammary gland physiology and milk composition.

In her role as the TIG president, Noura is dedicated to fostering networking opportunities and promoting professional development for trainees. Her overarching goal is to enhance the global representation of trainees in the field of human milk and lactation.

Secretary, 2022-2024: Kristin Elgersma

Kristin Elgersma PhD, DM, RN, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, a 2022–2023 NIH NRSA F31 Fellow, and a 2024–2027 K12 Scholar. Dr. Elgersma holds previous masters and doctoral degrees in piano performance from Northwestern University, but was inspired to make a career change after she had a child with congenital heart disease (CHD). Her experience trying (and failing) to directly breastfeed led her to investigate how human milk feeding and direct breastfeeding could be better supported for infants with CHD and their families. She has an interest in biostatistics and data analysis. Her dissertation work applied methods for machine learning and causal inference to the topic of human milk and breastfeeding for infants with CHD, and was recently chosen as the best oral abstract (nursing science category) at the 8th World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery. Her current projects focus on human milk, growth quality, and neurodevelopment within the context of physiological illness for infants with critical CHD. Ultimately, Dr. Elgersma hopes to develop personalized, human milk/breastfeeding-based nutrition interventions that support family feeding goals and optimize growth and development for infants with critical CHD.

Professional Development Coordinator, 2022-2024: Miranda Loutet

Miranda Loutet is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and affiliated with The Hospital for Sick Children’s Centre for Global Child Health. Her doctoral research aims to generate new evidence regarding the quantification and classification of breastfeeding patterns to improve methods of ascertainment of breastfeeding practices in large-scale surveys and studies of factors that influence breastfeeding practices and the effects on infant health outcomes. Her PhD thesis is nested within a longitudinal cohort study, Synbiotics for the Early Prevention of Severe Infections in Infants, which was conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Newsletter & Blog Editor, 2023-2025: Adrianna Greco

Adrianna Greco MSc, RD is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia, Canada and a Registered Dietitian. She is passionate about maternal and infant health, which drew her to the world of human milk research. She completed her master’s degree at the University of Toronto, in which she validated methodology to assess the micronutrient content of donor human milk. Her doctoral work is focused on assessing the nutritional status of toddlers and their families along with neurodevelopmental outcomes to support their growth and development. As Newsletter Editor, she hopes to showcase the research and initiatives undertaken by the ISRHML community with a specific focus on trainee members of ISHRML. She would ultimately like to expand the reach of Milk Minutes so that the novel work being done in ISRHML can be shared with other researchers, professionals, and scientific groups to promote human milk feeding and scientific progress in this field.

Social Media Chair, 2023-2025: Eow Shaing Yen

Eow Shiang Yen is currently a four-year doctoral student in Community Nutrition at the Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). His doctoral research MYBIOTA is a prospective cohort study aiming to determine the association between infant microbiota with infant health in Selangor, Malaysia. He completed his Master’s degree in Community Nutrition at Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, FHMS, UPM, in 2019 with his thesis focusing on the factors associated with autism severity in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Community Health was obtained under the same department in 2017 with First Class Honor. His research interests include microbiota, gut health, disordered eating and nutritional status of children. He also participates actively in nutrition-related organisations such as Nutrition Society of Malaysia, Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity, Malaysian Society of Body Composition, American Society for Nutrition, and civil society organisations including Malaysian Youth Council and Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia.

Membership Chair, 2023-2025: Sarah Nyquist

Sarah Nyquist is a bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow at Gladstone Institutes. She completed her PhD in Computational and Systems Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology focusing on scRNA-seq analysis of mucosal tissues to study human health and disease, including cells in human milk. Her current research focuses on developing statistical tools for analyzing data focused on applications in mammary cell function during lactation. Outside of research, she loves spending time with her family (and cats), visiting museums, attending plays, sewing, and hiking.

Global Representation Chair, 2023-2025: Kelsey Johnson

Kelsey Johnson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota, whose research focuses on genetic influences on human milk and its consequences for infant health. Working with the Mothers and Infants LinKed for Healthy Growth (MILK) study, she has explored how maternal genetic variation impacts milk gene expression, the milk metabolome, and the infant gut microbiome. She received her PhD in Genetics & Epigenetics from the University of Pennsylvania. As TIG Global Representation Chair, she hopes to expand the global diversity of ISRHML’s trainee membership and increase opportunities for underrepresented trainees to attend the ISRHML congress.

Advisor, 2022-2024: Dr. Jimi Francis

Dr. Jimi Francis completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Nevada in Reno with a focus on infant nutrition. She then went on to complete a Doctoral degree in Nutrition at the University of California in Davis with major professor Dr. K. G. Dewey. Jimi completed her Dietetics Internship through the University of Iowa with a Fellowship at the 96th Medical Group at Eglin Air Force Base. Currently, Dr. Francis is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Department of Kinesiology in the College for Health, Community, and Policy. She continues to assist new families through her private practice as a Lactation Consultant and serves as a Trainer for the Texas Department of State Health Services Advanced Lactation Management Training for health care providers.

During her time at the University of California at Davis, Jimi began her wet lab work on human milk composition and clinical lab work on lactation physiokinetics, which she continues today. Currently, she has a team of volunteers, undergraduate, and graduate students assisting in research efforts to develop a better understanding of lactation and human milk for improving the quality of life and health of mothers and babies.

Advisor, 2023-2025: Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers

Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers, PhD, RN, CBS, is an Associate Professor at Hope College Nursing Department, Holland, MI, United States. Anita’s research experience as a primary and co-investigator spans healthcare and academia. In her early research career, she worked collaboratively with Rush University Mother’s Milk Club and neonatal intensive care unit, identifying the impact of donor human milk on preterm mothers’ experiences and human milk feeding outcomes. In 2017, she created her research team, Mother’s Milk for Michigan Infants, to explore personal, social, and perceived behavioral control, intentions, milk biomarkers, and biological factors associated with perceived insufficient and impaired milk volume. Early on, Anita benefited from the ISRHML – Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Trainee Expansion Program Trainee Bridge Fund by completing training in human milk biochemistry, metabolomics, feeding, and milk removal at The University of Western Australia under the mentorship of Dr. Donna Geddes and Dr. Ching Tat Lai. Her current research uses ion-selective electrodes to assess milk biomarkers to identify secretory activation and support lactation interventions to improve lactation outcomes among low-income populations. Anita’s current research combines her clinical experience as a labor and delivery, postpartum, newborn nursery, neonatal intensive care nurse, and lactation certification. Anita is currently enrolling participants in a funded extensive quasi-experimental multifaceted intervention (smartphone application, lactation provider precision protocols, and weekly phone calls) to improve lactation and maternal and infant health outcomes among low-income families.

Besides her research, Anita is an associate professor with over 15 years of teaching experience in practicum and lecture courses in nursing and global health. Last year, Anita was granted a year’s sabbatical for 2023-2024. During her sabbatical, she is building her leadership and research portfolio. Anita’s leadership training includes the American Association of Colleges and Universities PKAL STEM Leadership Institute and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Diversity Leadership Training. Anita is also building her data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence skills with a traineeship with the AIM-AHEAD All of Us Training Program. This training program will provide her with the skills needed to independently analyze the data from her large interventional study, milk microbiome research, and future analysis with DNA and milk biomarker data.