Margaret Ann Hilliard

PhD Candidate

B.A. in Biology & Biochemistry, Marlboro College. 2018

Advisor: David A. Sela

Research Interests

I'm broadly interested in the evolution of inter-individual differences in human milk composition. Also, how maternal genetics and environmental exposures influence the development of the infant gut microbiome. I use molecular techniques to investigate carbohydrate scavenging in the infant gut commensal Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis. I also use simplified in vitro models of the distal gut microbiome to study how host-indigestible carbohydrates modulate fecal communities.


Dedon, L. R., Hilliard, M. A., Rani, A., Daza-Merchan, Z. T., Story, G., Briere, E., & Sela, D. A. (2023). Fucosylated Human Milk Oligosaccharides Drive Structure-Specific Syntrophy between Bifidobacterium infantis and Eubacterium hallii within a Modeled Infant Gut Microbiome. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 67(11), 2200851.

Davis, E. C., Castagna, V. P., Sela, D. A., Hilliard, M. A., Lindberg, S., Mantis, N. J., ... & Järvinen, K. M. (2022). Gut microbiome and breast-feeding: Implications for early immune development. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 150(3), 523-534.

Coker, M. O., Laue, H. E., Hoen, A. G., Hilliard, M., Dade, E., Li, Z., ... & Madan, J. C. (2021). Infant feeding alters the longitudinal impact of birth mode on the development of the gut microbiota in the first year of life. Frontiers in microbiology, 12, 524.

Dallas D. C., Sah B. N. P., Beverly R. L., You X., Hilliard M. A., Sela D. A. & Donovan, S. M. (2021). Chapter 11—Nonprotein nitrogen and protein-derived peptides in human milk. In M. K. Mcguire & D. l O’connor (Eds.), Human Milk (pp. 299–336). Academic Press.

Antosca, K., Hoen, A. G., Palys, T., Hilliard, M., Morrison, H. G., Coker, M., Madan, J & Karagas, M. R. (2020). Reliability of stool microbiome methods for DNA yields and sequencing among infants and young children. MicrobiologyOpen, 9(5), e1018.