Recent observations strongly suggest that changes in maternal stress signalling can lead to altered development in offspring and changes in offspring physiology across evolutionary lineages. In mammals, studies suggest that maternal exposure to environmental stress during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of a variety of pathologies in later life including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety. This new conference will compare and contrast mechanisms of intergenerational change in diverse organisms, to help us understand how the maternal environment contributes to developmental programming and disease susceptibility.
The programme places particular emphasis on comparing mechanisms underlying maternal effects observed throughout ecology and evolution with the mechanisms underlying foetal programming in mammals. The overall aim is to explore whether the developmental origins of health and disease are caused by conserved molecular mechanisms and if they can be prevented or reversed.
The conference will bring together scientists working on foetal programming and developmental origins of health and disease in humans and animals (with a focus on the mechanisms underlying the developmental programming) with ecologists and evolutionary biologists interested in the effects of the parental environment on offspring physiology.