The Early Life Research Unit has an established internationally-recognised research programme investigating the impact of diet in early life on later health and disease based in the Division of Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
We undertake endocrine, metabolic and molecular studies in order to measure the impact of maternal diet on the physiology of pregnancy plus fetal and postnatal growth in both humans and a range of animal models. These have identified candidate mediators and mechanisms for early life programming and how they may influence later energy balance. We are thus able to examine nutritional interventions designed to prevent adverse adipose tissue development and later hypertension.
We are also conducting novel studies examining the impact of environmental challenges during pregnancy, lactation or juvenile life in order to establish the short- and long-term health outcomes, together with the extent to which risk of later obesity can be programmed in early life.