Prof Kevin Nicholas

Exploiting the evolution of lactation: a new paradigm for intervention strategies to improve health outcomes of preterm babies


Kevin Nicholas completed  a BScHons  in biochemistry and a PhD degree with Prof Peter Hartmann at the University of Western Australia. He subsequently moved to the National Institutes of Health in the USA for 6 years and then returned to Australia to take up positions in CSIRO, government research institutes and universities.  He has more than 160 publications, graduated 35 PhD students and attracted research funds from industry, the Gates Foundation and other agencies. Kevin is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University and a Professorial Fellow (hon) in the School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne. 


His interests focus on exploiting an understanding of the evolution of lactation to better identify the function and delivery of milk bioactives that have the potential to signal organ development in the neonate. Kevin has established  research platforms of comparative genomics and bioinformatics in mammary gland biology that includes the largest genomics-based lactation database in the world.  This database has been central in exploiting a range of species to identify signaling molecules in human milk that direct the development of gut and lung, and potentially the brain in the neonate. These studies are providing the basis for developing the next generation of human milk fortifiers that have potential for improved health outcomes for significantly preterm and low birth weight babies, in both the developing and developed world.