Renato Soibelmann Procianoy from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil will analyze the association between bacterial populations in the vagina and gut of mothers in their third trimester and in the meconium of very preterm newborns, with risk of preterm delivery. It was previously assumed that microbes from the mother are first transferred to the fetus during delivery. However, it was recently shown that this could happen already in the uterus, triggering a possible immune response by the fetus that may lead to premature birth, which is a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality. They will use 16S rRNA-based bacterial sequencing technology on around 600 samples to compare the types of bacteria present in preterm infants with that in healthy term infants in a neonatal unit in the Clinicas Hospital in Porto Alegre. They will also track the changes in bacterial composition in healthy and sick newborns during their hospital stay, to identify types of bacteria associated with specific diseases such as diarrhea. All samples will be stored in a repository for future case-controlled studies.
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