Sana Syed, MD Leads UVA Team as Part of International Study Receiving $3 Million Grant

March 14, 2023 by

Sana Syed MD head shot

Sana Syed, MD

An international team of researchers has received $3 million to support an ambitious effort to understand how early gut development can profoundly shape children’s health throughout life.

The funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will allow scientists at -the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Pakistan’s Aga Khan University to “map” the healthy gut in children ages 5 and younger down to the level of individual cells. The resulting wealth of information will enable the scientific community to design new interventions against various intestinal and nutritional diseases to help children live the healthiest lives possible.

How the gut changes and develops during early childhood is incredibly important for growth, nutrition, cognitive development, our immune system and many other long-term health outcomes. Yet very little is known about these changes in the gut in healthy children at a molecular level. “It is now well established that many aspects of health can be traced back to the first years of life,” said Sana Syed, MD, the leader of the UVA study team. “However, what is best for your health might not be what is best for mine. Mapping these changes in early life and how they vary across ancestry and environment will allow us to better understand the diversity of what is ‘normal’ and also will provide a reference for future investigations into the causes of intestinal diseases.”

Read full press release in UVA Health Newsroom. 

Filed Under: Faculty, Research