Leslie Myatt, Ph.D., to lead OHSU Moore Institute, Center for Developmental Health

Organizations work to understand and translate how development impacts lifelong chronic disease risk

Leslie Myatt, Ph.D., FRCOG, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and director of perinatal research, OHSU School of Medicine is named director of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness and the OHSU Center for Developmental Health. He succeeds founding director Kent Thornburg, Ph.D.

Dr. Myatt arrived at OHSU in 2015 after being recruited by his longtime collaborator and friend Dr. Thornburg as part of his efforts to build OHSU into a national leader in the field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, or DOHaD. This field of science looks at how the environment before birth, during pregnancy and in the first years of life impacts lifelong chronic disease risk. His research focuses on the effects of maternal obesity, gestational diabetes and sexual dimorphism on mitochondrial respiration in the placenta and their relationship to epigenetic regulation of placental function and fetal programming. He has served as deputy director of the Moore Institute since 2019 and holds the Bob and Charlee Moore endowed professorship.

“Les Myatt is the ideal person take the helm of the Moore Institute and the Center for Developmental Health,” said Kent Thornburg, OHSU professor emeritus. “His deep knowledge of the science of DOHaD and commitment to community-based work will help these organizations flourish and reinforce OHSU’s role as an international leader in the field of developmental origins.”

The Center for Developmental Health (CDH) is part of the Knight Cardiovascular Institute and brings together more than 60 researchers from across the institute whose work touches on DOHaD. The CDH supports early career scientists in developing careers in DOHaD research through a summer training course, mentorship opportunities and seed funding.

The Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness takes the science of DOHaD and translates it into programs, polices and curriculum designed to improve the health and wellness of this generation and the next. The Moore Institute and CDH are aligned in their mission of developing and interpreting the science of DOHaD to improve population health.

“Dr. Myatt is highly accomplished in the fields of maternal-fetal and reproductive health and has partnered closely with Dr. Thornburg to advance our understanding of the developmental origins of health and disease," said Dr. Jacoby. "I am pleased he can now build on the considerable legacy of Dr. Thornburg by assuming leadership of the Moore Institute and the Center for Developmental Health.”  

Dr. Myatt completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at University of London. He spent more than 20 years at the University of Cincinnati where he served as Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D.), Program Director of the Women’s Reproductive Health Scholar’s Program, interim chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Chair for Research. He left Cincinnati for University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. There he served as Director of the Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research.

He has served as North American Editor of the journal Placenta, President of the Perinatal Research Society, President of the International Federation of Placenta Associations and President of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation. Currently at OHSU he also directs the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program.

Dr. Myatt enjoys explaining the Queen’s (or perhaps now the King’s) English and sharing stories of the black snow and cod liver oil tablets of his youth in industrial South Yorkshire.