Campus Box 1114
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
My research focuses primarily on human milk and breastfeeding behaviors in a comparative context. I am also interested in the role of human milk in infant growth and development, specifically understanding how milk may contribute to human developmental plasticity and the potential role this may have played in human adaptation to novel environments.
I work primarily with two main projects – the Studying Mothers, Infants, Lactation, and Environments (SMILE) and the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). The SMILE Project is a 6 site comparative study of milk macronutrients, energy, immune factors, and metabolic/growth hormones from populations living in diverse ecologies. SMILE uses a standardized methodology to facilitate direct comparison of breastfeeding behaviors and milk composition. Through this kind of comparative work, we hope to gain insights into how environmental selective pressures may contribute to differences in milk composition. Building on this, I am also interested in understanding how these metabolic and growth factors contribute to the growth and development of infants – specifically thinking about milk both as a phenotype and as a factor contributing to the development of the infant phenotype. At present, the SMILE Project is recruiting mothers in the St. Louis area and will start global work in Nepal and Siberia in 2013.
My dissertation work was conducted with participants in the Cebu Study. I spent six months in 2007 and 2008 living in Cebu Study working with lactating women from the study. The Cebu Study is a longitudinal birth cohort study (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/cebu/) of more than 3000+ mothers and offspring. Offspring were born in 1983-84, and are now reproductive aged adults and having their own families. Participants were interviewed every two months from birth to 2 years (1986) with subsequent follow-ups in 1991, 1994, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. In a cross sectional study with 126 offspring and their own offspring, we found strong evidence for maternal buffering of milk macronutrients, protective effects of traditional fish based diets on milk fatty acids, and evidence for motor development influencing milk immune factors. Future work will investigate the association between prenatal and postnatal growth of mothers, milk composition in adulthood, and infant growth during the first year of life.
I also maintain a working biohazard level 2 wet lab in McMillian Hall. The lab has full capacity for running Enzyme Linked Immunoassays (ELISA) to measure metabolic hormones, growth factors, and immunoproteins in human milk, saliva, plasma, and dried blood spots. By 2013, we will also have the capacity for measuring macronutrients and energy content of human milk.
Quinn EA, Diki BK, Childs G. (2016) Milk at altitude: Human milk macronutrient composition in a high-altitude adapted population of tibetans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159(2):233-43. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22871. (link)
Quinn EA, Largado F, Borja JB, Kuzawa CW. (2015) Maternal characteristics associated with milk leptin content in a sample of Filipino women and associations with infant weight for age. Journal of Human Lactation 31(2):273-81. doi: 10.1177/0890334414553247. (link)
Yoon J*, Tooba R*, Largado F, Borja J, Quinn EA. (2014) Parity and hemoglobin levels in a one year birth cohort of lactating Filipino women. American Journal of Human Biology 26(3):421-3. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22526
Quinn EA. (2014) Too much of a good thing: an evolutionary argument for decreased iron fortification of infant formula in the United States. American Journal of Human Biology 26(1):10-7. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22476
Quinn EA. (2013) No evidence for sex biases in milk macronutrients, energy or breastfeeding frequency in a sample of Filipino mothers. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 152(2):209-16. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22346
Miller EM, Aiello MO, Fujita M, Hinde K, Milligan L, Quinn EA. (2013) Field and laboratory methods in human milk research. American Journal of Human Biology 25(1):1-11.
Quinn EA, Kuzawa CW. (2012) “Dose response between fish consumption and human milk DHA content among Filipino mothers in Cebu City, Philippines. Acta Paediatrica
Quinn EA, Largado F, Power ML, Kuzawa CW. (2012) “Maternal level predictors of breast milk macronutrient composition in Filipino mothers.” American Journal of Human Biology 24(4):533-40.
Kuzawa CW and Quinn EA. (2009) Developmental origins of adult function and health: evolutionary hypotheses. Annual Review of Anthropology 38: 131-147.
Kuzawa CW, Quinn EA, Adair LS (2007) “Leptin in a lean population of Filipino adolescents”, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 132(4): 642-9.
Worldwide Variation in Human Growth
Developmental Plasticity and Human Health
Darwin to Doctors: Principles of Evolutionary Medicine
Biomarkers: Reproductive and Social Endocrinology
Biocultural Perspectives on Obesity
Anthropological Applications of Life History Theory