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Research Talk on “How to Keep a Good Baby: New Perspectives on the Role of Vitamin D”

23 Nov 2013

21 November 2013 – Two guest speakers from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, Dr Lucy Green and Dr Jane Cleal jointly delivered a research talk titled “How to Keep a Good Baby: New Perspectives on the Role of Vitamin D” on 21st November 2013 at the Bukit Jalil Campus of the International Medical University (IMU). The research talk was organized by the Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI). Dr Green is a Reader in Developmental Physiology, School of Medicine in the University of Southampton. She is based in the Institute of Developmental Sciences (Southampton General Hospital). Her main research interest is in the mechanisms underlying the effect of the early nutritional environment on cardiovascular development, growth and metabolism during fetal and postnatal life. She investigates the adaptations made by offspring during fetal life and early childhood, and the impact that such adaptations have on cardiovascular and metabolic functions in later life. On the other hand, Dr Jane Cleal is a Lecturer in Epigenetics at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton. Dr Jane’s research focuses on understanding the regulation of nutrient transport in the human placenta involving cell culture, gene expression, and epigenetic studies. The research talk focused on the importance of vitamin D during pregnancy and the effect of vitamin D deficiency on fetal development. Maternal environmental factors in early life can largely increase the risk of non-communicable diseases, for instance, cardiovascular disease in fetus. In this research talk, Dr Green has highlighted that the lack of vitamin D during pregnancy will affect the development of cardiovascular system and skeletal muscles in the fetus. Meanwhile, Dr Jane talked about impaired amino acid transport to the fetus via the placenta due to vitamin D deficiency which can cause fetal growth restriction. The talk was well attended by faculty as well as postgraduate students. It was followed by a meeting to explore opportunities for collaboration in vitamin D research between IMU and University of Southampton. Overall, the meeting has been very fruitful as several potential areas for research collaboration were identified.

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