Theme Leader Biography

Professor Maria Makrides

Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme Leader

Professor Maria Makrides is the Theme Leader for Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children. She is also Director of the Child Nutrition Research Centre with its headquarters at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.Maria is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Principal Research Fellow and also Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Adelaide.

Maria leads a multi-disciplinary research group of over 30 staff who are highly skilled in conducting and translating nutrition intervention trials involving mothers and babies.

As a research dietitian, Maria is committed to improving the nutrition and health of mothers and their babies through the conduct and translation of high quality research. She is particularly recognised for work investigating the health effects of dietary fatty acids, iron and novel dietary ingredients in the perinatal period. This work has resulted in significant changes in the composition of infant formulae and had an important impact on changing international food laws (Codex Alimentarius), which determine the minimum safe composition of infant foods. Most recently Maria was part of an international expert advisory group to comment on the composition of follow-up formulas under review by Codex.

Maria is also part of the team that undertook the systematic reviews to underpin the Australian Dietary Guidelines for pregnant and lactating women released by the NHMRC in 2013. She is a member of the Infant and Young Child Scientific Advisory Group, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Maria has over 180 peer reviewed publications including a number in the prestigious journals The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal. She is also co-editor of four books, including the most widely sold textbook in paediatric nutrition that is now translated into Chinese, Spanish and Russian.

Awards and Honours

In 2015 she received the 12th Fatty Acid and Cell Signalling Award (FACS) for testing novel hypotheses in large scale clinical trials. This was presented at the biennial FACS meeting in Toronto.

2014 - awarded Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences

2012 - awarded Fellowship of the Nutrition Society of Australia, the highest honour of the Society

2012 - awarded International Women’s Day Award, Organisation of Hellenic Women of Australia.

Research Support

In the last five years, Maria has secured over $15 million from all sources. This includes six project grants totalling $7 million. The award of a Centre of Research Excellence in Foods for Future Australian (2012 – 16) underscores her ability to pull together and secure productive and cohesive multi-disciplinary teams.

Professional Service

Maria serves on the Board of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) and co-convened the ISSFAL Maternal Infant Workshops in Vancouver 2012 and Adelaide 2013. She was also a member of the Scientific Program Committee for the 2013 Annual Congress of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand. She currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Committees for the Nestle Nutrition Institute and Fonterra.

Maria also set up the South Australian Women in Science and Engineering Network in 2014 and Chairs the SAHMRI Gender Equity Committee.

Selected publications in last five years

Zhou SJ, Yelland L, McPhee AJ, Quinlivan J, Gibson RA, Makrides M. Fish-oil supplementation in pregnancy does not reduce the risk of gestational diabetes or preclampsia. Am J Clin Nutr (2012) 95:1378-84

Palmer DJ, Sullivan T, Gold MS, Prescott SL, Heddle R, Gibson RA, Makrides M. Effect of n-3 long chian polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in pregnancy on infants’ allergies in first year of life: randomised controlled trial. BMJ (2012) 344:e184.

Makrides M, Gould JF, Gawlik NR, Yelland LN, Smithers LG, Anderson PJ, Gibson RA. Four-year follow-up of children born to women in a randomised trial of prenatal DHA supplementation. JAMA (2014) 311:1802-1804.

Zhou SJ, Anderson AJ, Gibson RA, Makrides M. Effect of iodine supplememtation in pregnancy on child development and other clinical outcomes: systematic review of RCTs. Am J Clin Nutr (2013) 98:1241-54.

Netting MJ, Middleton PF, Makrides M. Does maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation affect outcomes in offspring? Nutrition (2014) 30:1225-41.

For additional publications see:

https://www.sahmri.com/our-research/themes/healthy-mothers-babies-children/research/publications

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