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Interviews with Researchers from DOHaD 2019

In these audio interviews, we get the insight from researchers at the World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and Diseases, Australia, 2019. Listeners will learn about topics such as the effects of pollution on early childhood development, the role of fathers in a child’s health, and effective health interventions for adolescents.

Become a member to listen to all of the interviews.

In October 2019, the World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and DIsease (DOHaD) took place in Melbourne, Australia, with many African scientists present. We conducted video and voice interviews, collecting a rich repository of insight into this critical field.

The Congress brought together basic and clinical researchers and health care professionals from around the world to address the many challenges that impact the health of mothers and fathers, babies in the womb, infants, children and teens, exploring solutions, interventions and policies to optimise health throughout a person’s life.

We interviewed Professor Douglas Ruden, Professor and Director of Epigenomics – Institute of Environmental Health Science at Wayne State University, USA, who discussed the burning question of how pollution effects babies in-utero, and indeed the intergenerational effects thereafter.

In our interview with Zhaogeng Yang PhD Candidate, Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, Peking University, China, we discuss the association between high birth weight and later abdominal obesity. Through Yang’s research, it has become clearer that China should pay more attention to the causes of high birth weights, especially in a rapidly urbanizing context, where a variety of foods (unhealthy) are abundant.

We also interviewed Professor Jane Fisher, Jean Hailes’ Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University and leads the Jean Hailes Research Unit at Monash.

In this interview, Professor Fisher discusses how pregnant women’s mental health impacts on their child’s early development.

In discussion with Jeff Craig, Lecturer in Medical Sciences at School of Medicine at Deakin University, it becomes apparent what the most suitable interventions for childhood neurological disorders. Mr Craig is currently researching the possibility of early testing, such as dry blood spots to determine accurate treatment plans. This is a new area of research.

Dr Gemma Sharpe, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Epidemiology, University of Bristol, spoke to us about the importance of broadening the field of development origins of health and disease to look at paternal influences, which she believes has been neglected.

Dr Jill Hnatiuk – Lecturer, Physical Activity and Health
Deakin University, discussed the importance of physical activity in early childhood (between the ages of 0 and 5) for later health. In addition, she notes that many children do not meet the daily physical activity requirements, and that this must be addressed.

Dr Lucy Green, Associate Professor in Developmental Physiology, University of Southampton spoke to us about the importance of effective science communication and public engagement activities in the field of developmental origins of health and disease.

Dr Claire Wilson, MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow in the Section of Women’s Mental Health, Kings College London, helped us understand the risks of intergenerational transmission of mental illness; the effect of gestational diabetes on a children’s health, especially in the realm of neurological conditions; and a father’s mental health status and its effects on his offspring.

Maureen Minchin, Medical historian and health educator, explained the importance of breastfeeding and the connection between infant formula feeding and inflammatory illnesses.

Professor Niels Risken- Head of Vascular and Internal medicine – Radboud Hospital – Netherlands, discussed the importance of individualised diagnosis and treatment plans for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Dr Sandra Okala, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Women and Children’s Health at King’s College London, explained her passion for immunology and how nutrition in utero effects a baby’s response to childhood vaccinations.

Dr Helena McAnally, Manager of the Next Generation Study, Denaidan, New Zealand explained that one of the many findings emanating from that country’s longest birth cohort study, was the importance of protective parenting for later health.

Professor Mary Barker, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Science, University of Southampton Honorary Reader in Psychology, Institute for Women’s Health, University College London, told us about the importance of supporting adolescents to live their best lives. She notes that the behaviour change interventions used to support adolescents have not been effective and thus discusses how personalised and tailored interventions are key.

DOHaD members can access these interviews HERE. Non-members can join for free HERE


DOHaD Africa Chapter's virtual home is hosted by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.