Yvonne Lamers

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Nutrition
Nutrients
Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms
Breast Feeding and Infant Nutrition

Research Interests

Nutritional Biochemistry
Micronutrients
Vitamins
Nutritional Biomarker
Pregnancy
Periconceptional folic acid supplementation
Prenatal Supplements
Newborn Screening
Toddler Nutrition
Clinical Chemistry
Maternal and child health
Newborn Screening

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Biography

My research interests relate to underlying mechanisms of nutrition and chronic disease risk. I am eager to contribute to targeted and population-based prevention strategies of chronic diseases. My research specifically focuses on B-vitamins and their functions in human metabolism. B-vitamins are essential nutrients for normal cell growth and the nervous system and thus have an impact on human health from the embryo to the older adult. Low folate and/or vitamin B-12 status may yield pregnancy complications, low birth weight, cancer, and cognitive impairment.

The overarching theme of my research is nutrient adequacy. My research projects aim to investigate metabolic and functional effects of nutritional inadequacies and micronutrient interactions in various population groups. The studies will help elaborate potential underlying mechanisms responsible for linkages between B-vitamin intake and chronic diseases and in the evaluation of optimal vitamin intake to maintain biochemical functions. I am specifically interested in investigating the metabolic effects of folic acid and less than optimal vitamin B-12 intake.

Research Methodology

Randomized Controlled Trials
Human intervention studies
Pregnancy-newborn cohort studies
Nutritional biomarker
Small molecule analysis
Targeted metabolomics
Stable isotope tracer kinetics
Mass Spectrometry

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Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
2019

My enthusiasm for research draws from my interest in the biochemistry and physiology of nutrition-related diseases and in targeted and population-based strategies of chronic disease prevention and optimal health promotion. My research focuses on micronutrients and specifically B-vitamins and their kinetics and functions in human metabolism. B-vitamins are required for normal cell growth and neurological function and thus have an impact on human health from the embryo to the older adult. Low folate and/or vitamin B-12 status may yield pregnancy complications, low birth weight, cancer, and cognitive impairment. The overarching theme of my research is micronutrient adequacy. My current research projects focus on maternal-fetal nutrient dependency, periconceptional vitamin adequacy, and the role of maternal and infant nutrition on growth and development. In the UBC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory that I established, my team has set up a wide array of externally validated analytical methods. One of our goals is to identify sensitive nutritional biomarkers for early diagnosis of micronutrient inadequacies. With the use of stable isotope tracer protocols, we are able to investigate metabolic and functional consequences of nutritional inadequacies and micronutrient interactions in various population groups. The studies will help elaborate potential underlying mechanisms responsible for linkages between B-vitamin intake and chronic disease risk and in the evaluation of optimal vitamin intake to maintain biochemical functions. I am interested in supervising graduate students with strong interests in biochemistry, nutrition, and biomarker analysis. Ideal candidates have strong communication skills for interaction with study participants and have experience or high interest in potential projects with a wet lab component. To read more about our current projects, team members, or highlights, please see: www.vitamins.landfood.ubc.ca

CURRENT OPENING: 1 postdoc position, CIHR-funded project to determine vitamin adequacy in reproductive-aged women. The candidate has a background in nutrition, biochemistry, life science, or related fields, preferably with experience in the conduct of clinical trials, participant recruitment and correspondence, and has strong communication skills and is highly organized. The candidate will join a dynamic team of graduate students and clinical research assistants, as well as lab technicians, to undertake this interdisciplinary project. If interested, please send your resume to yvonne.lamers@ubc.ca.

I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Vitamin B-12 status during pregnancy and infancy: screening tools and assessment of populations at risk for deficiency (2017)

No abstract available.

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Association of maternal folate and vitamin B12 status with birthweight and gestational age at birth in mother-newborn dyads residing in British Columbia (2018)

Birthweight and gestational age at birth have been inversely associated with chronicdisease risk in later life. The vitamins folate and vitamin B12 (B12) have interdependentmetabolic functions that are essential for fetal growth. Maternal folate and B12 concentrationsduring pregnancy have been positively associated with birthweight and gestational age at birth;however, the findings from the literature are inconsistent. The objective of this research was toevaluate the association of maternal serum folate and B12 biomarker concentrations, combinedand individually, with birthweight and gestational age at birth.This retrospective cohort study included biobanked non-fasting serum samples and datafrom 674 apparently healthy pregnant women of South Asian and European ethnicity residing inLower Mainland, British Columbia (BC). Maternal serum samples, collected in the first andsecond trimesters of pregnancy, were retrieved from the BC Prenatal Genetic Screening Programand analysed for folate and B12 biomarker concentrations. Birth outcome data were retrievedfrom the BC Newborn Screening Program. The association of folate and B12 biomarkerconcentrations with birth outcomes was assessed using multiple linear regression models withadjustment for confounding factors, including infant sex, ethnicity and maternal age.The prevalence of low birthweight, preterm and small-for-gestational-age were 1.9%,8.9% and 0.88%, respectively. The combined maternal folate and B12 status, in either trimester,was not associated with birthweight or gestational age at birth. Maternal B12 biomarkerconcentrations individually, in either trimester, were not or only weakly associated with birthoutcomes. Second-trimester maternal folate concentrations of the second, third and fourthquartile group (Q2=55.5-69.3, Q3=69.3-87.8, Q4≥87.8 nmol/L, respectively) were associatedwith an approximate 0.6-week (i.e., 4-day) increase in gestational age at birth, compared to theiiireference group (Q1≤55.5 nmol/L) (95% CI: 0.28, 1.02, p=0.02; 95% CI: 0.23, 0.95, p=0.03,95% CI: 0.16, 0.89, p=0.005, respectively).In conclusion, early pregnancy folate and B12 status were neither combined norindividually associated with birthweight in this sample. Due to the vitamins’ importance in fetalgrowth and development, the association between maternal folate and B12 status and birthoutcomes warrants further investigation in a population with a higher prevalence of lowbirthweight and preterm birth.

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Vitamin B6 status of young and older adult women in Metro Vancouver (2017)

Vitamin B6 (B6) plays an essential role in the metabolism of amino acids, synthesis of neurotransmitters, and regulation of energy homeostasis. B6 deficiency, plasma pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP) concentration
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Assessment of the rate and determinants of vitamin B12 deficiency in South Asian and European women of childbearing age in Metro Vancouver (2014)

Low maternal vitamin B12 (B12) status has been associated with an increased risk for adverse offspring health outcomes, including neural tube defects and insulin resistance. High rates of B12 deficiency have been reported in South Asians, who comprise one of Canada’s largest minority groups, and Canadian women of childbearing age. Comprehensive B12 status assessment should include multiple biomarkers to reduce the risk of misclassification. However, there is no consensus on the appropriate cut-off values to define chronic and marginal B12 deficiency. Our goal was to assess the rate and determinants of B12 deficiency in healthy South Asian and European women in Metro Vancouver using multiple biomarkers. We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study in a convenience sample (n=207) of South Asian and European women (19-35y). Anthropometric measurements and questionnaire data on demographics, lifestyle and diet were collected. Vitamin B12 status was assessed using serum vitamin B12 (SB12), serum holotranscobalamin (holoTC) and plasma methylmalonic acid (MMA) as biomarkers. The association of lifestyle, social, dietary, and genetic variables with B12 status was examined using multiple regression models. Using conventional SB12 concentration cut-offs, 14% of participants with biochemical data (n=204) were classified with chronic deficiency (SB12
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Publications

 
 

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