Life expectancy is increasing across the globe and there is a need to ensure that physical and mental health is maintained as long as possible into old age. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to health and longevity but there is a growing awareness of the importance of early life events in programming lifelong health and the role of diet in particular. Health and life expectancy are also strongly related to socioeconomic status but the links with diet and behaviour are poorly understood.
My research is concerned with these issues and specifically the way in which diet at different life-stages interacts directly with the human genome to influence health and disease risk throughout life, and the mechanism by which it does this. It deals with early life factors and reproduction. It seeks to determine the nature of the links between early life and later health and to identify critical modifiable factors in the early environment. It also seeks to identify the evolutionary links between health, fertility, and reproduction that cannot be modified. This work involves the study of epigenetics in reproduction, cognition, and cancer, in a range of study designs; from in vitro studies in isolated cells and tissues through to large cohort and case-control studies involving thousands of individuals.