Microbial Interrelationships Between Mothers and Infants by Mode of Feeding


MIMI is a subproject of the STRONG Kids 2 (SK2) study that is being conducted by members of the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the SK2 team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Due to the critical role of the gut microbiota in the health and immunity of young infants, the objective of MIMI is to investigate the interrelationships between bacteria present on different microbial sites of infants and their mothers and to gain a more in-depth understanding of how these bacteria are transferred between the pair. The MIMI team is particularly interested in differences present in the maternal milk microbiome among mother-infant pairs using different feeding modes (i.e. exclusive breastfeeding, exclusive formula-feeding, and mixed-feeding) as an infant’s diet is one of the main factors that influences an infant’s gut microbiota. Samples are collected from a small number of mother-infant pairs at 6-weeks postpartum.

Downloadable Overview

Microbial Interrelationships Overview PDF

Research Team

  • Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, Principal Investigator, Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Jen Themanson, BS, MEd, STRONG Kids Program Coordinator, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Erin Davis, Graduate Research Assistant, Nutritional Sciences
  • Kelly Uchima, STRONG Kids Program Recruiter



This project is supported by the Division of Nutritional Sciences Vision 20/20 Program.  This is Hatch funding awarded on a competitive basis by the Division of Nutritional Sciences.


Erin Davis
Graduate Research Assistant
Email: ecdavis4@illinois.edu