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Professor Mark Hanson

Lead for LifeLab and our research into childhood obesity, growth, development and health, Mark has a personal focus on the early origins of diseases including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Mark researches how nutrition and behaviour before and during pregnancy affects the way that the unborn child develops. Aspects of the environment affect the way inherited genes work by epigenetic mechanisms. This influencing later response to environment and lifestyle, and so life-course risk of disease. A ‘mismatch’ between the developmental and later environment is particularly important in global populations undergoing economic and nutritional transition.

Epigenetic markers may help us understand how to predict and prevent risk of later disease.

Mark’s is one of the founders of the LifeLab initiative, reflecting his interest in education – especially developing adolescents’ health literacy to reduce their later life risk of disease, and to give their future children the best start to life.

Mark is a founder and ex-President of the International Society for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and has multiple consultancy and advocacy roles internationally, including for the World Health Organisation.



  • Research lead for childhood development and health
  • British Heart Foundation professor of cardiovascular science

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