David Barker Medal

SOCIETY AWARDS PROF BARKERThis is the DOHaD Society’s highest honour, awarded every two years to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to the scientific development and broader leadership of the DOHaD field. Past distinguished awardees include:

Medals are awarded at the Society World Congress, where the medal winner delivers a plenary lecture.

Nominations can be put forward by any DOHaD member. They should check that the person is willing to be nominated and should use the special nomination form available here.

Nominations submitted in any other format will not be accepted

Please send nominations the DOHaD office dohad@mrc.soton.ac.uk

2019 WINNER

Kent trained as a developmental physiologist/embryologist and throughout his long and distinguished career has studied heart growth and development using the chick and the ovine fetus as his experimental models. In particular, he studied the effect of the in utero environment and the interaction of the placenta and the developing heart, showing that placental vascular resistance affects right ventricular systolic pressure and alters cardiomyocyte maturation in the sheep fetus hence having a major effect on heart development. This naturally led him towards the DOHaD discipline where he continues to focus his research program. He has published 240 papers based on his work and is recognized as a key international thought leader, advocate and communicator in the field. His effectiveness in these roles is evidenced by the many invitations he receives to speak not only at major scientific and policy meetings but also at smaller community liaison meetings. 

In the 1990’s, Kent met and subsequently worked with David Barker. Kent was invited to contribute a chapter on “Physiological development of the cardiovascular system in utero” in the series Fetal Origins of Cardiovascular and Lung Disease that David edited in 2000. Subsequent to his retirement David took up an appointment at Oregon Health & Science University to work alongside Kent. They had a very fruitful collaboration publishing over 30
papers together. These papers not only contributed to moving the DOHaD concept beyond phenomenology, but particularly described the role that the placenta plays in shaping an individual’s life-long health trajectory. These important collaborative discoveries set the stage for many in depth mechanistic studies, that have followed.

Kent also plays a leading role in advocacy of DOHaD, and has really worked to drive new knowledge to action and improved human health. He is also an outstanding communicator, who can speak at high level international
scientific meetings, as well as, to local community and advocacy groups. The latter has had major impact at many levels in the wider Oregon Community. Indeed, in 2014 alone, he spoke to 26 Community based groups in Oregon from the Oregon Business Association to the Oregon Learning Centre to the Oregon Food Bank Board of Directors. More recently, he has continued his exciting studies into nutritional aspects in Alaska, working in field conditions with indigenous peoples.


 

Nick Hales Award

Nick Hales

This award, in memory of the late Professor Nick Hales, and also given every two years, is for ayoung and emerging investigator who is a DOHaD member and has made an outstanding scientific contribution to the DOHaD field. Past “rising starts” include:

Awards are handed out at the Society World Congress, where the medal winner delivers a plenary lecture.

Nominations can be put forward by any DOHaD member. They should check that the person is willing to be nominated and should use the special nomination form available here.

Nominations submitted in any other format will not be accepted

Please send nominations to the DOHaD office dohad@mrc.soton.ac.uk

2019 WINNER

Gabriella Conti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at UCL; co-Investigator of the National Child Development Study (1958 British Birth Cohort); and Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Her research areas of interest are health economics, the economics of human development, and biology and economics. Gabriella research draws on both the biomedical and the social sciences with the aim of understanding the developmental origins of health inequalities, and the behavioural and biological pathways through which early life shocks and policies affect well-being throughout the life course.

Since becoming Associate Professor in Economics at UCL in 2013 - first in the Department of Applied Health Research, and since 2016 with a joint appointment in the Departments of Economics (the top economics department in Europe) and Social Science (as co-Investigator of the 1958 British birth cohort). Recently she has established a strong international reputation as a leader in the economics of DOHaD, culminating in a prestigious European Research Council Consolidator Award in 2019.

Gabriella’s work aims to untangle the complex interactions between biology, shocks, investments and policies in the production of lifecourse health, and she is currently leading the first study to test whether the impacts on cognitive development in a home visiting intervention in Colombia vary as function of both the child’s and the mother’s genetic susceptibilities – advancing the literature which has only looked at mothers/offspring in isolation.

Among early interventions, Gabriella is developing a strong expertise in prenatal home visiting programs. To gain longterm experimental validation of the DOHaD hypothesis in humans she is working with David Olds, studying the adult health effects of an original Nurse Family Partnership trial. She is also involved in the evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) in England, collaborating with the FNP National Unit in analyzing national implementation data and providing policy advice regarding the quality of the workforce and the importance of intervening at different stages. Her work with Mike Robling, University of Cardiff, is estimating economic models of child development on the Building Blocks trial data to understand why the FNP improved language and cognitive development in the first two years (but not health at birth).

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