Tiffany Pan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Washington, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9662

Approve Date

April 18, 2018

Project Title

Pan, Tiffany D., U. of Washington, Seattle, WA - To aid research on 'Microchimerism: An Evolutionary Perspective,' supervised by Dr. Daniel T.A. Eisenberg

TIFFANY PAN, then a doctoral student at the University of Washington, received a grant in May 2018 to research “Microchimerism: An Evolutionary Perspective” under the supervision of Dr. Dan Eisenberg. During pregnancy, cells travel bidirectionally between mother and fetus, and the retention of a small number of these cells from a genetically different individual is termed microchimerism (Mc). Mc cells may influence host immune function by directly contributing stem cells that differentiate and develop into functional immune cells or by expressing foreign antigens that trigger host immune responses. Pan and colleagues leveraged data from a multigenerational, longitudinal health study and introduce Mc as a mediating factor in immune tradeoffs throughout the life course. They found that individuals who were breastfed for at least the first two years of life had lower levels of maternal-origin Mc in young adulthood compared to individuals who were never breastfed, and there was no evidence of a relationship between Mc and early life infection or third generation offspring birth weight. However, technical limitations may have obscured their ability to detect the true relationship. Further assay development is a goal of an ongoing collaboration.