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2024 ‘ROS’ Workshop

Join four world experts from engineering, biology, and medicine as they share their insights on the challenges and solutions for scaling up, analyzing and navigating regulatory of this year’s topic: Bioactive Milk Lipids.  
Benjamin Boyd, PhD
Ben Boyd, PhD

TITLE: How much do we really understand about the behaviour of milk lipids during digestion?

Milk lipids are an important yet understudied aspect of understanding the functions and nutritional aspects of milk. The compositional and biochemical aspects of milk lipids are relatively well studied, however the physical-chemical aspects of milk lipids, especially triglycerides (as >96% of the available lipids) during digestion, are still being unravelled, as emerging structural and spectroscopic techniques are enabling access to this information. At the end of my session you will understand more about the intricate self-assembly behaviour of lipids during digestion, how it could present a discriminating feature of different types of milk and milk-like products, and new and alternative techniques that are emerging to study these phenomena dynamically during the digestion process.

Prof Ben Boyd is a colloid and physical chemist with PhD from the University of Melbourne (1999). After industry experience in the explosives and pharmaceutical industries, he commenced an academic position at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS). His research group focuses on colloidal and structural aspects of lipids, lipid self-assembly and pharmaceutical systems, focused on controlling materials at the colloidal scale for delivery in pharma and other fields. His group is also active in developing new synchrotron X-ray-based characterization approaches for lipid and solid state systems. With respect to milk, his research into lipid self-assembly in milk and milk-like systems, and their application in drug delivery has attracted funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and numerous prizes including the Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the Controlled Release Society (CRS) and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS),  he was the recipient of the AAPS 2011 Lipid-based Drug Delivery Award Outstanding Research Award. He is a past Secretary and President of the CRS and past President of the Australian Colloid and Interface Society. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Co-editor of the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science and Editor for Asia for Drug Delivery and Translational Research.

TITLE: From milk fat globule structure to the dairy matrix effect in nutrition and health.

The nutritional properties and health impacts of milk fat have long been considered according to its fatty acid profile but recent research highlight the metabolic importance of the complex supramolecular structure of milk fat globules and of their polar lipids. This talk will take you through major steps of this multidisciplinar journey that started by exploring how dairy processes impact the structure and functional/technological properties of milk fat globules. Further research questions were raised on the potential impact on intestinal absorption and metabolic fate of the fatty acids, which led to develop specific experimental designs using stable isotope tracers in preclinical and clinical studies. Additional challenges were overcome to demonstrate the cardiovascular benefits of milk polar lipids through their fate in the gut by developing a multidisciplinar consortium involving food scientists, physicochemists and biochemists, nutrition and metabolism scientists, microbiologists, as well as the dairy sector. These advances now contribute to the new concept of the dairy matrix effect in nutrition and health and open new exciting research perspectives and technical challenges.

Marie-Caroline Michalski is Research Director at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE). She is head of a team in CarMeN laboratory in Lyon about the impact of lipid structures on their intestinal absorption and metabolic impacts. MC Michalski has been awarded in 2022 the Chevreul Medal, delivered by the French Society for the Study of Lipids to an outstanding researcher, for her work in the field of lipid science and industrial applications, notably on the milk fat globules and the metabolic benefits of milk polar lipids.

TITLE: MFG macrostructure is modulated by the physiology of the lactating animal and impact the consumer.

The macrostructure of the milk fat globule (MFG) is shaped by the inticate interplay of various factors, including the composition of fatty acids, the relative abundance of polar and neutral lipids, and the glycoconjugates. The precursor of the MFG are the intracellular lipid droplets (LD) which during their secretion to the milk collecting ducts will acquire a polar lipid bilayer envelope, termed MFG membrane (MFGM). The MFG are secreted in a wide range of sizes, from 200 nm to over 15 μm and their size and composition are tightly associated. This talk will address the modulation of MFG macrostructure in response to environmental factors and physiological stress and will present a novel hypothesis that these modifications are associated with the mammary gland resilience to stress conditions. Moreover, the notion that changing supramolecular structure can change the nutritional and bioactive value of milk, as it consumed by the neonate, will be discussed. This session will expose you to the importance of understanding the regulation process of the MFG size as a tool to provide benefits to the lactating mother and to the consumer, by means that were understudied up to date.

Dr. Nurit Argov-Argaman trained at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in nutrition and lipid metabolism. After completing her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California Davis, she returned to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and created her lactation and metabolism research group. Her research focus is lactation physiology and its metabolic regulation. The objective of her research group is to obtain knowledge on the nutritional and metabolic regulation of milk composition, concentration, and structure. Her research group discovered the role of the mitochondria in regulating the milk fat globule structure and hence the composition of milk fat. Since the mitochondria is susceptible to biotic and abiotic stressors, her studies have been focusing on the effect of environmental stress on the milk composition and lactation traits of dairy animals and finding nutritional strategies to mitigate these environmental detrimental effects. Strong associations were found between the milk fat structure and milk composition and hence focuses on the effect of the milk fat structure. This association is studied under two aspects: 1) product stability and quality in terms of the content of bioactive constituents, and 2) the effect on the health of the consumer in terms of the digestion and absorption, physiological, immune and metabolic response to milk with varying milk fat globule sizes. Additionally, Dr. Argov-Argaman develops, and teaches courses (emphasizing on lactation physiology, animal nutrition and lipid metabolism) in the BSc and MSc programs in The Animal Science Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

TITLE: Role of milk bioactives on brain function and a case study on how to overcome obstacles during whey production

The fractionation of milk to produce whey protein yields under-utilized co-products such as whey protein phospholipid concentrate and cream, which are potentially enriched with bioactive lipids critical to brain function. Currently, little is known about the chemical characteristics and neuro-cognitive effects of these types of dairy co-product streams. Throughout this session, we will explore three challenges and possible solutions for gathering greater insights on how milk fractions such as these dairy co-products can concentrate bioactive lipid species in co-products that may improve cognitive performance in rodents and humans. The challenges will include scale-up production, establishing effective doses in pre-clinical models and knowing the type of brain disorders that could benefit most from these co-products.

Dr. Ameer Taha is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. He specializes in food chemistry and biochemistry. Taha completed his Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Toronto, Canada. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 2014 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Taha studies the role of lipids and lipid-like compounds (e.g. pesticides) on brain function. His lab uses lipidomic tools to measure bioactive lipids in the food supply, investigate their absorption kinetics and understand their impact on brain neurophysiology and function. Ultimately, this research will inform on exposures that could modify brain plasticity and function.