The University of California, San Diego will receive $10.5 million from Switzerland’s Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation to research the mysteries of human breast milk.
Breast milk is known to be the best source of nutrition for babies, but the composition of human milk still puzzles researchers. The foundation is funding a new initiative to provide an evidence-based understanding of how genetic and environmental factors affect human milk. The initiative also will research how human milk affects the health of the recipient over their lifespan.
"UC San Diego has a strong track record for interdisciplinary collaborations and researchers who aren't afraid to challenge conventional wisdom," UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said in a statement. "As one of the world's top research universities, we are committed to advancing the wellbeing of our society.”
The Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation's gift includes seed funding for a new center at UC San Diego (called Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence). The cash will also go towards an endowed faculty chair in collaborative human milk research, as well as a collaboration and fellow fund for collaborative studies either within UC San Diego or with external researchers.
The center will accept further gifts and endowments, which will allow it to grow over time, the university stated in a press release.
Lars Bode, associate professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, has been named the center's director.
Based in Zug, Switzerland, the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation is an independent charitable group that supports research in human milk and lactation. The gift to UC San Diego follows the foundation's endowment of two professorships in this field at the University of Western Australia and the University of Zurich.