Public Health Seminar Series:

The Developmental Origins of Human Health and Disease Risk: Concepts and Recent Findings by Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D.

Monday, April 21, 2014 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CAL-IT2 AUDITORIUM OCW Video Archive
Seminar Abstract

Developmental robustness, or how well an individual is built, has an important implication for her or his subsequent state of health and risk of developing over the lifespan complex common disorders that currently confer the major global burden of disease. Development is a plastic process, wherein a range of different structural and functional phenotypes can emerge from any given genotype as a function of the nature of environmental conditions during embryonic, fetal and early postnatal life. The UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program is a transdisciplinary, translational effort to elucidate the nature and consequences of the interplay between biological, behavioral, social and environmental conditions during early human development (intrauterine and early postnatal life) on subsequent health outcomes over the lifespan. Our approach, broadly informed and guided by an evolutionary-developmental perspective, seeks to address developmental processes underlying the transduction of signaling of short- and long-term energetic state-related parameters in the maternal environment (e.g., nutrition, stress) on outcomes related to fetal growth and maturation, birth phenotypes, and newborn, infant and child physical and mental health. Our studies also focus on putative mechanisms involving maternal-placental-fetal endocrine, immune, vascular and genetic/epigenetic processes, including telomere and mitochondrial biology. The presentation will discuss the key concepts underlying the developmental origins of health approach, summarize empirical findings, and discuss on-going and future directions.

Speaker Biography - Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D.

Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D.
Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Director, UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program
Pathik D. Wadhwa is a Professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, with a primary appointment in Psychiatry & Human Behavior and joint appointments in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology. He also is the founding Director of the UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program. Dr. Wadhwa received his medical degree from the University of Poona, India, in 1985, and his doctorate in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, in 1993. His research examines the interface between biological, social and behavioral processes in human pregnancy, with an emphasis on outcomes related to fetal development, birth, and subsequent newborn, infant and child development and health. In particular, this work focuses on the role of maternal-placental- fetal neuroendocrine, immune and genetic/epigenetic processes as putative mechanisms that mediate the effects of the maternal environment, and particularly of prenatal stress, on early human development. Dr. Wadhwa is the primary author or co-author of numerous publications in this area. His research has continuously been supported by several grants primarily from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Wadhwa is the recipient of several honors and awards, including recognition for his career contributions from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine, the Perinatal Research Society, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Library of Congress, and the World Health Organization.

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