Our strategy is to adopt a life course approach towards an understanding of the aetiology and underlying mechanisms of common metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological disorders and their relations with reproductive dysfunction and fetal and neonatal development.
This research group brings together basic and clinical research expertise in cellular and reproductive endocrinology, developmental biology, neuroanatomy and neurodevelopmental psychiatry with the overarching themes of developmental programming (early life origins of health and disease) and healthy ageing.
Converging lines of evidence suggest that many chronic degenerative conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and also neurocognitive/behaviour abnormalities, have their origins in early life and are the result of complex gene-environment interactions in utero and during postnatal development. A particular focus of this research group is the use of clinically relevant animal models of common complications of pregnancy, such as obesity, diabetes, pre-eclampsia and immunological disorders, all of which have long-term deleterious consequences for the offspring. We investigate the physiological processes and the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby fetal or neonatal exposure to an aberrant hormonal or nutritional environment gives rise to increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease in later life.
Our life-course approach encompasses investigations on stem cells and embryos, fetal and neonatal physiology, neuroanatomical plasticity, onset of puberty, juvenile onset hypertension, reproductive ageing, chronic degenerative cardio-metabolic disease. Our goal is the application of translational research towards preventative strategies for the improved health of future generations.