Dr Andrew Baldi - Population Health & Immunity division

Dr Andrew Baldi - Population Health & Immunity division

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 29/03/2023 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 29/03/2023 - 2:00pm

WEHI Wednesday Seminar hosted by Professor Sant-Rayn Pasricha

Dr Andrew Baldi MBBS BMedSci FRACP FRCPA

PhD Student - Pasricha Laboratory
, Population Health and Immunity Division – Healthy Development & Ageing Theme, WEHI

Paediatric Haematologist | Royal Children’s Hospital

The intestinal microbiome in global child health

Davis Auditorium


Including Q&A session


Children in low- and middle- income countries have a high burden of anaemia, much of which is attributable to iron deficiency. Oral iron supplementation has been associated with increased risk of infection including malaria, as well as diarrhoea. It has also been shown in several studies to reprofile the intestinal microbiota in children leading to reductions in commensal bacteria and increases in pathogenic taxa and inflammation.

BRISC (Benefits and Risks of Iron Interventions in Children) was a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial of oral iron supplementation in infants in Bangladesh. Key findings were an improvement in iron status and anaemia with iron. There was no significant effect on the primary outcome of childhood cognitive development. In addition, the trial showed no increased incidence of diarrhoea among children who received iron, providing reassurance about the safety of iron in this setting.

We performed a substudy of around 900 children from the main trial who provided stool samples at baseline, end of the three-month intervention and at nine-month follow-up. 16S ribosomal RNA gene and shotgun sequencing were performed and the microbiome was analysed according to the trial intervention and other key variables of the trial. A high incidence of antibiotic use was noted during the trial, and the effects of antibiotic use were also incorporated into the analysis. Microbiome outcomes included diversity measures, taxonomic differential abundance, and presence and abundance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes.

This presentation will explore these microbiome measures with respect to iron supplementation, and will also outline the significant changes to the microbiome with age and antibiotic use, including AMR gene prevalence.


All welcome!