Mai-Lei (Maggie) Woo Kinshella is delighted to be joining King’s College London this Fall 2024 as a Banting Fellow. The highly competitive Banting Fellowships program supports Canada’s top-tier postdoctoral researchers, with only 23 health researchers funded across the nation in 2023-2024. Building on her strong research foundation developed at the Elango Lab and Women+ and Children’s Health Sciences program at the University of British Columbia and the research institutes based at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital, together with the remarkable synergy with King’s College London’s global focus, Maggie’s application was ranked 6 out of the 182 applications reviewed by the CIHR Selection Committee.

Maggie will be working with Prof Peter von Dadelszen and the PRECISE Network to explore the biological pathways between maternal diets, multiple forms of malnutrition, and the risk for developing pre-eclampsia and other placental disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. Pre-eclampsia is the second leading direct cause of maternal deaths with associated with over 46,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 perinatal deaths annually, with a disproportionate burden in sub-Saharan Africa where rates of incidence and death are both rising. Nutrition has essential roles in placenta development during pregnancy and certain micronutrients have clinical anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be important in the prevention of pre-eclampsia. However, prevention methods need to be understood within the lived realities of women in sub-Saharan Africa, including a triple burden of malnutrition with high rates of under nutrition, over nutrition and nutritional deficiencies. Evaluating biomarkers can help to clarify pathways of risk and improve the effectiveness and precision of nutritional interventions for pre-eclampsia in resource-limited settings.