Hello, my name is Tom Fleming.
I'm a professor of Developmental Biology at the University of Southampton.
My main interest is in early development-
that period in and around the time when the gametes fertilize, the embryo is
established, and the embryo begins
to develop into what's known as a blastocyst in the first stage,
which then implant into the uterus.
This very early stage of embryogenesis.
But, my interest now is not so much those intrinsic processes
of how an embryo develops,
but more of how environmental factors outside of
the embryo can influence that program of development-
that it then entertains.
What are we going to talk about today, in particular, is
maternal nutrition and how that can affect
fetal development ultimately and long-term health.
It's not just embryos developing themselves,
it's how they go on subsequently,
ultimately, affecting the whole lifespan of the organism.
So, what we will cover in this talk is early embryo development and
this interplay, as I call it, between the intrinsic processes of morphogenesis,
how the embryo morphology develops and how it interacts with its environment.
I'll be bringing in the concept of
the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, or known as DOHaD,
which is how the environment, particularly maternal nutrition can affect long- term health.
Many causes of our diseases can be traced back to
experience in utero rather than our lifestyle as adults.
I'll also be looking at how maternal nutrition influences the events around
conception and how that can then change how the embryo
would develop, ultimately linking with long-term health.
We're going to mostly cover, as a good example,
what happens when a mother's nutrition is poor- under-nutrition,
but I'll have a summary of what happens with over-nutrition,
such as high-fat diets and obesity because they can
both act negatively to affect
long-term embryo development and fetal development, indeed, long-term health.
There at the bottom- mechanistic understanding of how this poor maternal nutrition,
under-nutrition can change the embryo and lead to adult disease.
That will be the main focus as a long example.