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PhD defence Theresa Ochoa (Online)

Effect of lactoferrin on pediatric infections

15 mai 202016:00

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This is an online PhD defence organised by ITM.


  • Prof. Dr. Jan Jacobs (ITM/KU Leuven)
  • Prof. Dr. Veerle Cosey (KU Leuven)


This thesis focuses on the effect of lactoferrin, a milk glycoprotein with antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties, on enteric and neonatal infections. The general hypothesis is that lactoferrin given as an oral supplement to infants will improve their health by mimicking its protective roles in breast milk, decreasing the incidence and severity of common pediatric infections. We conducted three clinical trials with an overall enrollment of 1,159 infants in peri-urban communities and three hospitals in Lima, Peru, and two secondary data analysis of the neonatal trials. In summary, we found that lactoferrin supplementation reduces the severity and duration of diarrhea episodes and reduces late-onset sepsis in infants with a birth weight <1500g. Although not statistically significant in all cases, there were less infections or less severe infections in the lactoferrin patient group, for all outcomes measured.

The public defense will take place online. Please register here

Short bio Theresa Ochoa:

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Hereida, Lima, Peru

Dr Ochoa is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases specialist working in Peru as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Cayetano Heredia University (UPCH) since 2005. She is Director of the Tropical Medicine Institute at UPCH and Head of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory at the Institute. Her research background is in pediatric infectious diseases, with an emphasis on enteric pathogens and diarrhea in children, the antimicrobial properties of lactoferrin and clinical studies in pediatrics. She has conducted four clinical trials to determine the effect of bovine lactoferrin on the prevention of diarrhea in children and neonatal sepsis in Peru. Her long-term objectives are to find cost-effective interventions to decrease the burden of infectious disease and improve outcomes in pediatric populations in developing countries.