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About the MTPRF

The Molly Towell Perinatal Research Foundation (MTPRF) was established in 1988 as a legacy of the estate of Dr Molly Towell. Dr Towell was a pioneering clinician-scientist in the field of maternal-fetal medicine and had a particular interest in the influence of maternal nutrition on infant outcomes. This was many years prior to the seminal works of Barker, which gave birth to the current concepts of the developmental origins of health and disease. For more about Dr. Towell, see About Molly Towell.

Major Objectives

Dr Towell instructed that the major objectives of the Molly Towell Perinatal Research Foundation were:

  • To provide funding of graduate and undergraduate fellowships for individuals in the field of fetal and neonatal medicine

  • To provide start-up operating funds to assist in research and education in the field of fetal and neonatal medicine

About Funding

The overall goal of the Molly Towell Perinatal Research Foundation is to encourage perinatal research in Canada. According to Dr. Towell’s direction, the Foundation will support original and innovative research, which she defined as the pursuit of new information derived from basic or clinical research. High priority is given to projects that concern fetal growth or metabolism but any studies that involve original research in fetal or neonatal medicine will be considered. However, purely epidemiological research or clinical trials will not be considered.

For more information on the application process, please click here.


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Announcement of 2019 MTPRF Fellow Recipients

The Foundation Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Molly Towell Perinatal Research Foundation Fellowship awards. Twelve applications were received. The Foundation is grateful to all the applicants and to the members of the review panel who adjudicated the proposals. The winners are:

Dr. Meredith Brockway 
Meredith performed her doctoral studies with Dr. Karen Benzies in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. Her studies there involved the translation of biomedical information to the clinical practices related to breast milk feeding of infants, infant morbidities and associated costs. Her postdoctoral studies will be performed under the supervision of Dr. Meghan Azad, an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in the Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases at the University of Manitoba. Her proposed research will explore the hypothesis that in the absence of mother’s own milk, the use of donor milk matched to the mother’s secretor status (for the a-1, 2-fucosyltransferase-2 gene) will result in significantly more favourable microbiome diversity in the infant compared to those that were fed usual donor milk composed of multiple donors regardless of secretor status.

Dr. Samantha Wilson
Samantha received her PhD in Medical Genetics from The University of British Columbia where she worked under the supervision of Dr. Wendy Robinson. Her studies assessed epigenetic changes in the placentas from pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction and related these changes to levels of maternal blood serum markers. Her postdoctoral studies will be performed at the Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital at the University of Toronto in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Hoffman under the supervision of Dr. Aaron Schimmer. Samantha’s proposed studies will utilize machine learning technology to assess several maternal clinical and biochemical factors to predict the occurrence of preterm birth. These studies will be facilitated by access to several global biobanks that have studied preterm birth (Building Blocks of Pregnancy, Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth, and the UK Baby Biobanks).