B-vitamin metabolism and requirements, maternal-fetal nutrient dependency, periconceptional folic acid supplementation, metabolic consequences of vitamin inadequacies, nutrient-gene interactions, risk markers for neural tube defects
Maternal & Fetal Health
My enthusiasm for human nutrition research draws from my interest in the physiology and biochemistry of nutrition-related diseases and in targeted and population-based prevention strategies of chronic diseases. My research specifically focuses on B-vitamins and their kinetics and functions in human metabolism. B-vitamins are required for normal cell growth and neurological function and thus have an impact on human health from the embryo to the older adult. Low folate and/or vitamin B-12 status may yield pregnancy complications, low birth weight, cancer, and cognitive impairment.
Dr Lamers is Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism and Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition at the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Her research with a focus on maternal-fetal nutrient dependency and vitamin adequacy in women across the life span is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and the Dairy Farmers of Canada. Dr Lamers established the UBC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory that is set up with externally validated methods for blood and tissue biomarker assessment and has participant in various inter-laboratory comparison studies.
Dr Lamers’ research has focused on vitamin metabolism with the overarching goal to identify biological mechanisms linking nutrition, health, and disease and to evaluate optimal vitamin status to maintain biochemical functions. As evidenced by her recent work, her goal is to contribute new knowledge that can be applied in clinical practice and public health for the benefit of individuals and vulnerable population groups. Her efforts on defining vitamin adequacy during early infancy and pregnancy for early diagnosis of fetal deficiencies aims to provide children with the best possible start in life, including the determination of fetal origins of disease and early indicators of disease risk. Dr Lamers’ research program is directly translational as reflected by her team’s recent development of a novel assay for determination of nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency using dried blood spot analysis (Schroder et al. 2014, Schroder et al. 2016).