Trainee Interest Group

Because trainees are the future of ISRHML….


The Trainee Interest Group (TIG) brings together ISRHML trainees to participate in activities aiming at trainee academic and professional growth within the field of human milk and lactation research. The TIG also works as liaison with other ISRHML committees at ISRHML to provide trainee perspective when needed.


As member of TIG, what activities would you be involved in?


TIG members contribute to ISRHML’s annual and international scientific meetings by:

  1. Assisting in organizing oral presentation and poster competitions
  2. Organizing “Meet-the-experts” sessions and professional development sessions
  3. Assisting in preparing reference workshop material (eg. handouts) and in facilitating workshops
  4. Assisting in event advertisement and archiving


Other activities include developing a periodic newsletter for trainees and organizing webinars and online discussion forums on novel research topics.


Meet the members of the TIG governing committee

The governing committee works with TIG to organize trainee-relevant activities, explores additional activities related to advancing training related to human milk and lactation and bridges communication between TIG and other ISRHML committees.


The Trainee Governing Committee is chaired by the TIG president and consists of a secretary, 3 trainees-at-large and 2 full member advisors.

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TIG president: Sara Moukarzel

Sara Moukarzel is a PhD candidate in human nutrition at the University of British Columbia, Canada under the mentorship of Dr. Sheila Innis. She received her Masters degree in dietetics and nutrition in 2011 at the University of Kansas, USA. Her doctoral research focuses on better understanding the complex roles of human milk lipids, including phospholipids in the milk fat globule membrane, in early postnatal brain development. Having been trained in Lebanon before moving to North America, Sara’s goal is to foster international research collaboration efforts to better understand determinants of human milk quality and breastfeeding success among Lebanese women.



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TIG secretary: Kamilla G. Eriksen

Kamilla G. Eriksen is a PhD student at MRC Human Nutrition Research and the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge UK. She has a BSc in Public Health Nutrition from Metropolitan University College (Copenhagen, DK) and a MSc in Nutrition for Global Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Kamilla has most recently worked as a data analyst for the Global Nutrition Report, which works to guide action, build accountability and increase commitments for progress toward reducing malnutrition.




Trainees-at-large: Anita Esquerra-Zwiers, Carrie-Ellen Briere, and Janet Williams

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Anita Esquerra-Zwiers, MSN, RN is a PhD candidate in Nursing Sciences at Rush University, Chicago, USA. She received her undergraduate degree in Nursing at Calvin College and her masters degree in Nursing Education through the University of Phoenix Online. She is currently working under the mentorship of Paula Meier, Janet Engstrom, Beverly Rossman, and Aloka Patel exploring the experiences and perceptions of mothers with very low birth weight infants in Rush University’s neonatal intensive care unit after the implementation of their donor milk program. Specifically, she is exploring how these experiences and perceptions impact future feeding choices and maternal provision of milk during their infant’s hospitalization. She has been an associate member of ISRHML since 2012.


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Dr. Carrie-Ellen Briere is a Post-doctoral fellow with a joint appointment at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and University of Connecticut, School of Nursing (USA). Her clinical background is as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. During her doctoral program, Carrie-Ellen’s research focused on clinical breastfeeding challenges of the premature infant. In her current post-doctoral fellowship she is expanding her knowledge of basic science by learning laboratory methods in the identification of breastmilk stem cells.





150206 JanetJanet Williams is a PhD candidate in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program at the University of Idaho, ID, USA. She received her undergraduate and masters degrees in Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, OK. She is currently working under the mentorship of Drs. Mark McGuire (major professor), Shelley McGuire, James Foster, and Steve Krone studying host-microbe relationships and their impact on maternal and newborn health and disease. Janet utilizes both laboratory “wet bench” methods as well as computational methods to tackle understanding the complex relationships between host (genomics, milk cells and other milk components) and microbial communities in milk and the gastrointestinal system of the offspring.



TIG advisors: Drs. Lars Bode and Michelle (Shelley) McGuire.

~~~ To learn more about TIG and how you can join, please email Sara Moukarzel at

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