Center for Developmental Health

The Center for Developmental Health is a major research center within the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. It consists of more than sixty scientists who study the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease here at OHSU. 

Director Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., pictured below at left, is an internationally recognized researcher and scientist, with expertise in cardiac and pulmonary physiology, placentology and developmental programming.  He studies the physiological adaptations to pregnancy and the roles of maternal diet and body composition in regulating placental and fetal growth and lifelong health.

Thornburg is Interim Director of the Knight Cardiovascular Institute and Director of the Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness.

Faculty members in the KCVI Center for Developmental Health

Overview

The Center for Developmental Health conducts cutting-edge research and explores ways to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. The scientific foundation of the center is the 1989 Barker finding that birth weight is a crude marker for risk of death from ischemic heart disease. An 8-9 pound baby is less likely to acquire heart disease than babies born smaller or larger. An examination of other chronic diseases shows that adult onset type 2 diabetes and obesity are also highly correlated with birth weight, as well as markers of maternal nutrition and body composition. Research has also shown that nutritional and social stresses before birth are related to dramatically increased risks for hypertension, type 2 diabetes and stroke, in addition to heart disease, later in life.

Research Areas

Scientists within CDH are organized into eight research areas focused on uncovering the origins of cardiovascular disease.

Research Positions:
Postdoctoral and other research positions are available within CDH. Please review our center scientists' faculty profiles for more information about their areas of focus and reach out to them directly to inquire about available positions associated with their laboratory.

See directory of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease researchers at OHSU

The Center for Developmental Health Stands Against Racism

The OHSU School of Medicine has developed a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan that charts how the School of Medicine, which includes the CDH,  will contribute to the institutional aim of becoming a truly anti-racist organization. The plan includes nine objectives and 79 tactics that provide specific action steps for our academic programs, departments, centers and institutes to get there. Read more about the plan

Support our research

Donate to the Center for Developmental Health

Registration now open!

Join us in person August 21-23 for our annual two day course on the science of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Our theme this year is "DOHaD: Innovations to Address Gaps in Knowledge"

This course is designed for graduate students, post-docs and early-career scientists interested in the long-term implications of fetal development. Click here for more information and to register
 

The Heart Beat

Our annual newsletter, Heart Beat, is where you can find center updates, articles about center scientists and their work, recipes, upcoming events and more. Read the latest Heart Beat (2021-22)

Past Heart Beats
Heart Beat 2020-21
Heart Beat 2019-20
Heart Beat 2018-19

For more information

Email heart@ohsu.edu to:

  • Partner on our research
  • Inquire about postdoctoral positions