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Prof. David Barker University of Southampton, UK, and Oregon Health and Science University, USA1 Talk
Dr. David Barker was a physician and researcher, and founded the field of research known as Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. He studied Medicine at Guy’s Hospital in London, and then became a research fellow at the University of Birmingham. In 1966 he completed his PhD thesis ‘Prenatal Influences... read moreand Subnormal Intelligence’ which was a predcursor to his later work on fetal programming. In 1972 Barker moved to the University of Southampton, and in 1979 established the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit with Donald Acheson and Martin Gardner In 1989, with colleagues at the MRC Unit, he discovered the relationship between birth weight and the lifetime risk for coronary heart disease. This led to the "Fetal Origins Hypothesis" which proposes that coronary heart disease originates through responses to under nutrition during fetal life and infancy, which permanently change the body's structure, physiology and metabolism. Barker retired as director of the unit in 2003, but continued to work at the MRC Unit (now the Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit). David Barker published more than 500 papers and written or edited 10 books about the developmental origins of chronic disease. His most recent findings showed that a woman's diet at the time of conception and during pregnancy have important effects on the subsequent health of her offspring. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1998 and appointed CBE in 2005. His many honours included the Royal Society Wellcome Gold Medal (1994), the Prince Mahidol Award (2000) and the International Epidemiology Association Richard Doll Prize (2011). David Barker died on August 27 2013, he is survived by his second wife, Jan, by the children of his first marriage, and by three stepchildren.