On Thursday 9 February 2023, the department hosted Dino A Giussani, Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, to deliver the GL Brown Prize Lecture.
In 1975 The Physiological Society established the GL Brown Prize Lecture in honour of Sir George Lindor Brown; an annual series of peripatetic lectures aimed at stimulating an interest in in the experimental aspects of physiology.
This year's lecture by Professor Dino Giussani - 'Healing Tiny Hearts Across Generations' - addresses a gap in our knowledge around how the risk of developing heart disease is determined in the intrauterine environment experienced before birth. Fetal hypoxia is a common complication of pregnancy and is responsible for programming cardiac and endothelial dysfunction in offspring in later life. The mechanisms by which this happens remain elusive, preventing the identification of potential therapy. Professor Giussani's talk detailed the physiology behind his hypothesis that oxidative stress in the fetal heart and vasculature underlies how prenatal hypoxia programmes cardiac dysfunction in later life. He also outlined how the discoveries of his research can be applied to modify the risk of heart disease not only in our children but also in further generations.
Professor Giussani's research has won 17 international prizes including: The Lister Institute Prize, The Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, The Netherlands Wim Schellekens 2007 Prize, The 2015 David Barker Memorial Lecture at Oregon Health Sciences University, USA, The 2015 Sir Peter Tizard Lecture from The Neonatal Society and the 2017 Nick Hales Award from the International DoHAD Society.
Professor Giussani is the current President of The Fetal and Neonatal Physiological Society, and serves on the DOHAD Council and the DOHAD Scientific Programme Committee. He has honorary Fellowships by distinction from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FRCOG) and the Latin American Academy of Sciences (ACAL), in recognition of the contribution of his research to the wellbeing of women and their children.
The lecture was followed by a reception in the Sherrington reception foyer.