Liggins Institute

International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)

The Liggins Institute was a foundation member of an international learned society which promotes research and understanding of the early life origins of adult diseases.


The International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Adult Disease (DOHaD) was set up to promote research into the fetal and developmental origins of adult disease. It involves researchers from many disciplines and countries. Its inaugural chair was Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the former Director of the Liggins Institute.

The Society has been largely responsible for the growing and widespread awareness that many chronic adult conditions (including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis) begin during the early stages of development. Many of the discoveries that underpin this research originated at the Liggins Institute.

Society members meet regularly to share their research and advocate for this knowledge to be applied to public health.

Visit the DOHaD website to read about the Society and its aims.

Partner organisations

The institute works closely with members of DOHaD on collaborative projects and health initiatives.

We have strong and well established links with the Institute of Developmental Sciences at The University of Southampton, UK, led by Professor Mark Hanson.

Professor Hanson is an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Liggins Institute while Liggins Professor Sir Peter Gluckman holds a similar appointment at the University of Southampton. The two have co-authored a large number of research papers and books including:

  • The Fetal Matrix (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
  • Mismatch – the lifestyle diseases time bomb (Oxford University Press 2006 and 2008)
  • Principles of Evolutionary Medicine (Oxford University Press 2009)
  • Fate, Fat and Disease - Why diet and exercise are not enough (Oxford University Press 2012)