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Tessa Roseboom, PhDAdjunct Professor

Biography

Tessa Roseboom is a professor of Early Development and Health at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Fascinated by the wonder of life, she studied biology with a particular focus on reproduction. Her degree in epidemiology provided tools to investigate human populations. Her work focuses on generating knowledge and awareness about how the early-life environment affects human growth, development and health throughout life. She does this through research, advocacy and teaching.

Her studies in the Dutch famine birth cohort provided the first direct evidence in humans that maternal nutrition during gestation affected offspring´s and potentially grand-offspring’s health. The lessons learned about developmental plasticity translated into observational and experimental studies in current pregnancies in various settings. The main questions are: (1) what are the consequences of exposures in early life? (2) which interventions and policies are effective in optimizing people’s chances to develop their full potential? and (3) how to optimally communicate this knowledge to stakeholders (future parents, professionals and policymakers)?

She actively advocates for the translation of scientific knowledge into policy and practice. She acts as an ambassador for the Dutch government program Promising Start, and also chairs the Scientific Advisory Board monitoring the program’s impact. She is the Public Health and Policy representative of the International Society of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and a visiting fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies where she works on the link between a good start in life and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through books, lectures and courses she transfers knowledge and awareness about the fundamental importance of a good start in life to students, professionals, policymakers and (future) parents. The ultimate goal of her work is to contribute to a healthier more equal future by allowing each child to have the best possible start in life and develop to its full potential.