Liggins Institute

Child health: a healthy start for all children

Lectures by Liggins Institute professors featured in Winter Week on Campus 2014

Senior researchers from the Liggins Institute spoke about how early life events shape life-long health and what can be done to ensure the best start for all children. These lectures were presented as part of the University of Auckland Centre for Continuing Education Winter Week on Campus event 07-11 July 2014.

Read more and watch the lectures below.

Read more about Winter Week on Campus


Caring for newborn babies to improve life-long health

Distinguished Professor Jane Harding ONZM MBChB DPhil FRACP FRSNZ

Professors Sir Graham (Mont) Liggins and Sir William (Bill) Liley, both working in Auckland in the 1960s, pioneered ways to treat babies before birth, markedly improving chances of survival.  New research about how these and other early events can shape lifetime health has important implications for how we treat babies today.  Professor Harding spoke about how these are helping us develop the best treatments for vulnerable babies.

Professor Harding is the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for the University of Auckland and a principal investigator in the Liggins Institute’s LiFePATH research group.

LiFePATH research group


The first thousand days – the importance of good nutrition

Professor David Cameron-Smith PhD

Research shows that from the time of conception until around two years of age a child adapts to its nutritional environment in ways that will set the course of its development and lifelong health. This lecture explored the opportunities that this presents and how we might optimise health through better understanding requirements for maternal nutrition, breast feeding and weaning.

David Cameron-Smith holds a University of Auckland Chair in Nutrition, is Deputy and Research Director of the Liggins Institute and has recently been appointed to lead the first of the Government-funded National Science Challenges “High Value Nutrition”.  

Nutrition research at the Liggins Institute

The first 1,000 days

A delicate balance

Professor Wayne Cutfield BHB MB ChB DCH MD FRACP

The optimal fetal environment is delicately poised and even small deviations from a normal pattern of development can have a significant impact, increasing the risk of later disease. Children born small for their gestational age, preterm, post term and to women who experienced extreme morning sickness have all been shown to have increased risks of later obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This lecture discusses how small variations in the nutritional environment at conception, during pregnancy and at the time of birth can put our adult health at risk.

Professor Cutfield is Director of the Liggins Institute; he specialises in the care of children with hormone based conditions such as diabetes and growth disorders.

Clinical endocrinology research at the Liggins Institute


Managing childhood obesity

Paul Hofman MbChB, Dip Obs, FRACP

Childhood obesity is currently challenging health professionals and policy-makers around the world. It is now recognised as a precursor to the major adult diseases obesity, diabetes and heart disease and that many of its origins lie in early life events. While much research is currently focused on discovering the nature of these early biological events and how to prevent them, it is also important to manage children already affected. This lecture discussed strategies to intervene before overweight children grow to become overweight parents to a further overweight generation.

Professor Hofman is a clinical specialist in paediatric endocrinology. A former Clinical Director of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Department at Starship Children’s Hospital, he is currently Director of the Paykel Clinical Research Unit at the Liggins Institute.

Clinical endocrinology research at the Liggins Institute 
Paykel Clinical Research Unit