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Infant Gut Restoration Study – Research Buddy

About the project and the involvement opportunity

Infants born by C-section in Australia are all exposed to prophylactic antibiotics via administration to the mother during surgery. This exposure has been linked to disruptions in the development of bacteria in the infant gut (the gut microbiome) and potentially development of allergies and asthma in later life. In addition, the same antibiotic prophylaxis disrupts the mother’s gut microbiome which indirectly impacts the breast milk microbiome and subsequently the infant’s gut yet again.

At present there are no good interventions available to correct this disruption. One potential option is repurposing a new technique that has been widely used in adults for amending disruptions to the gut microbiota – a faecal microbial transplant (FMT). This involves taking a donor faecal (poo) sample (in this case, from the mother, prior to antibiotic exposure) and administering this to either the mother or the infant after birth to help restore natural gut microbes; it can be likened to a personalised probiotic supplement.

The infant gut restoration study aims to assess how effective administration of an FMT to mother or the infant is at restoring infant gut microbes following a C-section birth and whether it also reduces the rates of allergies and asthma in early childhood. We would like to discuss the proposed interventions with mothers who have lived experience of having a child born via C-section and in particular, a child who has subsequently developed allergies/asthma. We would like to engage about topics such as acceptability of the proposed interventions and discuss any concerns mothers would want alleviated prior to consenting to a maternal or infant FMT.

About the position

A research buddy is required to gain a consumer perspective on the acceptability of a maternal or infant FMT and document potential barriers to large scale use. The information gained will be used to help formulate a grant application for a randomised clinical trial involving the interventions discussed.

What am I expected to do?

You will be required to have a discussion (1-2h) with a researcher on the above topic.

What skills or experience do I need?

You need to be a mother with lived experience of having a child born via C-section and in particular, a child who has subsequently developed allergies/asthma.

How long am I expected to be involved?

Initially a single 1-2h discussion. If the grant is funded, a consumer reference group would be established, which you would also be a part of. This group would take part in hour-long quarterly meetings with study investigators.

Where will meetings be held?

In person at King Edward Memorial Hospital or via Teams.

What support is offered?

$37.50 per hour honorarium. Training and support is offered by the Consumer and Community Involvement Program.

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