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Wellcome Trust - Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research


Developmental Origin of Disease

Developmental Origin of Disease

Prof Affara's work seeks a better understanding of the developmental origins of disease.

At 2 years of age children in low-income countries are about 2 standard deviations (SD) below the healthy growth norm. Meta-analysis of existing pre- and post-natal nutritional interventions reveals gains of <0.25 SDs. Next-generation nutritional interventions built upon sound understanding of the causes of growth failure are required to bridge this divide. Healthy growth is orchestrated by a small number of interacting hormonal pathways that are sensitive to nutritional and infectious insults. Prof Affara and his research colleagues seeks to understand how and why these critical hormonal axes are down-regulated in children from low-income countries.

Professor Affara and his research partners aim to conduct  detailed examination  of growth failure and its hormonal correlates during the first 1000 days of life.

If some of the determinants to growth failures and consequential post natal disease risks are identified, strategies for neutralizing  the determinants can be explored.

Prof Affara is currently funded  by The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.

Institutional capacities: This is a collaboration between three world-leading institutions that are already working together on related topics: George Washington University; the Medical Research Council (MRC) International Nutrition Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) , London and MRC Keneba, The Gambia; and Cambridge University. The field site at MRC Keneba has unparalleled facilities, capacity, platforms and track record for conducting this type  project

Research Partners:

Principle Investigator: Prof R Bernstein of the University of Colorado,


Prof A Prentice  LSHTM MRC International Nutritional Group.

Dr S Moore MRC Human Nutrition Research

Prof D Dunger University of Cambridge

Dr K Ong MRC Epidemiology Unit/pediatrics

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The Centre supports collaborative partnerships and scientific training activities in basic biomedical and health-related research. This is achieved through coordinated cross-faculty research across departments and research institutes in Cambridge including The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

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