Nick Hales

Established in memory of the late Professor Nick Hales, DOHaD bestows this award to a new and emerging researcher who has already made an outstanding contribution to the DOHaD field. In order to be eligible for this award, early career researchers must be DOHaD Society Members and within <10 years of their first academic/ professional appointment.. Past “rising stars” include:

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

Nominations for the 2022 Congress Awards are now open, 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.



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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