Fetal programming of adult disease

The early life environment has a large impact on a healthy start to life and long term disease risk. Being born small (approx. 10% of all births) is a large problem in Western society, and studies have shown that these individuals have an increased risk of developing a number of adult diseases.

Additionally, the impact the maternal obesity during pregnancy, and the effects this has on offspring long-term health and development, is also an emerging area of our research interest.

Current projects

  • Effects of pregnancy, lactation and calcium supplementation on bone in mothers and the effects on cardiac and vascular function in offspring exposed to uteroplacental insufficiency
  • Can a physical activity model relevant to humans normalise skeletal muscle and pancreatic dysfunction in rats born small
  • Effects of Metformin use during pregnancy; consequences for maternal short term and offspring long term health
  • The effects of maternal physiological stressors and paternal line transmission on the programming of bone structure and development in growth restricted offspring
  • Placental and maternal biomarkers: Exercise benefits for overweight female rats born small

Team members

Group leader: Dr Tania Romano

PhD students: Ms Yeukai Mangwiro

Collaborators: Dr Maria Jelenic -La Trobe University

External Collaborators: Prof Mary Wlodek (Uni Melb), Prof John Wark (Uni Melb), Prof Glenn McConnell (Vic Uni), Assoc Prof Glenn Waddley (Deakin), Dr Mary Tolcos (RMIT)