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The MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (LEU), University of Southampton, UK, is directed by Prof Cyrus Cooper. Its mission is to promote human health using lifecourse epidemiological methods. This mission is achieved by:

  • Delineating the environmental influences throughout the lifecourse of chronic musculoskeletal and metabolic disorders and developing population-based and high-risk preventive strategies against these disorders

  • Maintaining and developing long-term cohort studies in Southampton, the UK and internationally to explore the mechanisms underlying the developmental origins of health and disease

  • Linking genetic, epigenetic, metabolomic and proteomic techniques to understand developmental influences on disease susceptibility, and their transmission across generations

  • Developing and testing interventions to improve health and health behaviours

  • Informing health policy and promoting training, research capacity development, knowledge transfer and public engagement in the lifecourse epidemiology of non-communicable disease

The aim of the Institute is to find the mechanisms by which early life environment contributes to the risk of chronic disease later in life. Relevant diseases include cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, obstructive lung disease, allergy and some forms of cancer. These mechanisms are increasingly recognised to play an important role in the health and socio-economic development of societies worldwide.

The Institute of Developmental Sciences currently comprises over 100 research scientists, which includes 27 academic staff, 38 research assistants and 67 postgraduate research students. Over the last 6 years it has trained 57 postdoctoral scientists of whom 23 have won career development fellowships (21 AMRC, 1 DH and 1 German Research Council). The Centre has attracted 185 outside grants totaling over £20.5m including £3.3m in programme funding. Over the last 6 years, the Centre has produced almost 1250 peer-reviewed research papers, 500 scholarly reviews, 44 policy papers and 8 patents.

Institute of Developmental Sciences
University of Southampton, UK


Nutritional deficiencies in low income countries impair the growth and development of children, reduce their resistance to infections, and contribute to almost half of all child deaths worldwide. Maternal malnutrition during pregnancy and lactation harms the fetus and infant with both short- and long-term consequences for their health. The MRC International Nutrition Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine works to reduce this burden with a focus on the world’s poorest populations, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our mission is to gain novel insights into the basic mechanisms linking diet and disease in order to develop more effective community and clinical interventions

The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) is a premier research organization in frontier areas of modern biology. The objectives of the Centre are to conduct high quality basic research and training in frontier areas of modern biology and seek their potential applications and promote centralized national facilities for new and modern techniques in the inter-disciplinary areas of biology. CSIR-CCMB has been designated as a Centre of Excellence by the UNESCO Global Networks for Molecular and Cell Biology (MCBN) and the South Centre for Excellence for Research and Training by the Third World Academy of Sciences TWAS, Italy. The Genomic Research on Complex diseases Group (GRC) utilizes an 'OMICs' approach to dissect gene-gene and gene-nutrient interaction in complex diseases and associated traits. The GRC group will conduct all the high throughput epigenetic and genetic investigations under EMPHASIS. The course of this study will build capacity for overall cutting-edge epigenetic research especially with reference to the field of bioinformatic analysis of such datasets.

Centre for the Study of Social Change

CSSC is a voluntary organization dedicated to helping marginalized Indians in improving their living standards and live a healthy, free and full life. It receives its inspiration from late Dr Mrs Indumati Parikh, who was a Distinguished Humanist and the President of CSSC since 1977 till 2004. She believed that “In India’s context the liberation of woman has to come first before any top-down programmes succeed”. CSSC is a registered voluntary organization started in 1972, whose main aim is to undertake problem-oriented research into the country’s socio-economic problems and to help the community to implement integrated programmes for social change with a wider perspective, involving specialists, grassroots workers and the people. The research team at CSSC, led by Dr Ramesh Potdar and Dr Sirazul Amin Sahariah carried out the Mumbai Maternal Nutrition Project (Project “SARAS”) and continues to follow up the mothers, fathers and children.

MRC Unit, The Gambia (MRCG) is one of two research units established in sub-Saharan Africa by the Medical Research Council UK and is the MRC’s single largest investment in medical research in a low and middle income country. MRCG represents a unique concentration of scientific expertise and high quality research platforms in the West African region. MRCG’s large research portfolio spans basic research to the evaluation of interventions for the control of diseases of public health importance in sub-Saharan Africa.


The Gambian arm of the EMPHASIS study is being led from the MRC Keneba fieldstation in the Lower River Division of The Gambia.  This rural field station is located in the village of Keneba – the largest village in an area of predominantly subsistence agriculture. The MRC has had a presence in the area for 60 years and enjoys an excellent relationship with the local community.

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