The Antibody Response Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in Human Milk

In this webinar, Dr. Powell will describe the human milk immune system, focusing on the antibody response after infection or vaccination, and the functions of those antibodies for infants, or as a potential therapeutic for all. Specifically, you will learn about current research on the human milk antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and very recent data on the milk antibody response following vaccination against COVID-19.

Thursday, 11 March 2021


  • To learn about the basic immunological components of human milk
  • To understand the antibody response in human milk and how this differs from the systemic response
  • To learn about the potency, durability and function of the antibody response against COVID-19 in human milk.

Presenter: Assistant Professor Rebecca Powell, PhD CLC

Dr Rebecca Powell is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine. She studies the immune properties of human milk. Dr Powell received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto and her Ph. D. in Microbiology at the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York University School of Medicine. Her graduate work focused on HIV genetic diversity, detection and frequency of dual HIV infections, and the impact of these infections on viral recombination and the humoral immune response. She developed a low-cost method to rapidly detect dual HIV-1 infection. Dr Powell’s early post-doctoral research at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Design and Development Lab (DDL), as well as her early research at the Icahn School of Medicine, focused on HIV-1 vaccines. She studied the contribution of  antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis by breast milk leukocytes to the relatively low rate of HIV transmission to infants breastfed by HIV-infected mothers.

Dr. Powell currently has several active projects aimed to fill knowledge gaps about human milk immunology, exploring: the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination; the antibody response to influenza vaccine; and the design of maternal vaccines to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV via breastfeeding. Dr Powell lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner and her three children.

Event Details

Date: 11 March 2021

Duration: 1 hour

This webinar was free of charge.