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DOHaD – Early Beginnings

Some attendees of the 1991 Sydney meeting – the early beginnings of the DOHaD congresses and Society.

Locations of DOHaD World Congresses. 2001 Mumbai, India; 2003 Brighton, UK; 2005 Toronto, Canada; 2006 Utrecht, Netherlands; 2007 Perth, Australia; 2009 Santiago, Chile; 2011 Portland, OR, USA; 2013 Singapore; 2015 Capetown, South Africa; 2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands; 2019 Melbourne, Australia; 2022 Vancouver, Canada.

The International DOHaD Society grew out of workshops held predominantly between researchers in Southampton, Auckland and Adelaide in the 1990’s, who met at regular intervals to talk about ongoing research and to discuss new ideas in this emerging field. However, a critical earlier meeting had been convened by Professor Geoffrey Dawes FRS, a towering figure in fetal and neonatal research, and held in La Spezia, Italy in 1989. David Barker presented early studies that he and Clive Osmond had conducted, showing the relationship between weights at birth and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the same individuals 50-60 years later, the Hertfordshire cohort. None of the physiologists in the room could understand the basis of this relationship. But the persistence of Barker and the insight of Dawes that there was "something interesting going on", kept the discussion alive. There were relatively small informal gatherings and workshops held at intervals of 12-18 months in Grasmere UK, Sydney Australia (see photograph), and in Jamaica, Auckland, Southampton, Vancouver and San Diego. The workshops became popular as the field expanded and the number of investigators wanting to attend quickly outgrew the workshop format. The International Council on Fetal Origins of Adult Disease was formed (1999-2002) and the first International DOHaD Congress was held in Mumbai in 2001. Shortly thereafter, the International DOHaD Society emerged with Peter Gluckman as its first President (2003-7), followed by Mark Hanson (2007-17) and Lucilla Poston (2017-present).

Congresses have been held more or less every two years, around the globe, as interest in this crucial area of health research expanded and its importance to public health policy and practice was recognized (see map). In 2007, the Society began the custom of giving two awards at its International Congress; one to a more senior researcher (the David Barker medal) and a more junior investigator (the Nick Hales award). Recipients are listed in the table below.




Past Recipients of DOHaD Society Awards



Jeffrey Robinson (University of Adelaide, Australia); 2007

Peter Gluckman (Liggins Institute, Auckland, New Zealand); 2009

Chittaranjan Yajnik (India); 2011

Caroline Fall (University of Southampton); 2013

John Challis (University of Western Australia, Australia); 2015

Matthew Gillman (NIH, USA); 2017

Kent Thornburg (Oregon Health & Science University, USA); 2019

Mark Vickers (Auckland, New Zealand) and Karen Lillycrop (Southampton, UK); 2007

Robert Waterland (Baylor College of Medicine, USA); 2009

Rebecca Reynolds (Edinburgh, UK); 2011

Susan Ozanne (University of Cambridge); 2013

Deborah Sloboda (McMaster University, Canada); 2015

Dino Giussani (Cambridge University, UK); 2017

Gabriella Conti (University College London, UK); 2019

Spotlight on Leah Marie Dorion












- The designer behind the DOHaD 2022 artwork

Leah Marie Dorion is a Metis artist currently living near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.  

Her artwork celebrates the strength and resilience of Indigenous women and families.  Leah is also a published children's book author.

Several of her books are available through Gabriel Dumont Press in Saskatoon and Strong Nations Publishing in Nanaimo.

Recently Oscardo an online gift shop located in Toronto began distributing products and fashions featuring her unique style of art works.

Visit for more information about her artistic practice.