The Origins of Health

The health of an individual is shaped by their early developmental experiences. The resources you receive in utero and in the first few years of life have significant influence over your health as an adult. This is a research area of considerable importance for both developed and developing countries experiencing shifts in chronic disease burden. At Emory, we are taking on the study of The Origins of Health at all levels. We are teaching undergraduate courses on both theory and mechanism, and we are actively researching the mechanistic processes experienced during development which lead to poor health. 

For further information on the Origins of Health, read more

Watch the BBC production, The Nine Months That Made You


In the spring of 2013 we offered a joint undergraduate/graduate course taught by David Barker and Michelle Lampl introducing the science of lifespan health. The class provided students with a first hand look at the data underlying the paradigm-changing view that health begins during earliest development. Emory continues this focus to extend the educational foundations of a new perspective on health, as it unfolds in the organism from the first cellular interactions with the environment to intergenerational expressions at the organism level.

The Origins of Health is building a consortium of investigators and efforts globally to improve individual and population health.


The Center for the Study of Human Health is involved in research into the Origins of Health at all levels. We have undergraduates designing databases for collection of health history information to allow the general public to begin to build a picture of their health background and future. Graduate students are involved in laboratory and population level research looking at the underlying causes of the patterns of chronic disease risk seen as a result of perturbations during development. Faculty research looks at the impacts of early growth trajectories on later health, as well as investigating cutting edge research approaches to profile health from birth through metabolomics and analysis of the exposome.