President's Distinguished Lecturer I


Prof. Tessa Roseboom, PhD
Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

 Laying foundation for healthy generations: lessons from the past to inform the future

Thursday, March 14, 2024
8:10 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.


In her talk, Tessa Roseboom will describe how human beings are shaped by the environment in which they grow and develop. Based on the lessons learned from 25 years of studying the long term consequences of exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944-45, she will link those insights to current day situations of war and famine, to social inequities, gender inequality, as well as clinical challenges around mental health, obesity and metabolic syndrome as well as prematurity and assisted reproduction techniques.

Tessa will combine insights from different scientific fields to underscore the importance of a good start in life, she will describe the economic evidence showing how investments in early human development yield the biggest rate of return on investment and will demonstrate that based on the Convention of the Rights of the Child, we must provide each child with a healthy and safe environment to grow up in. She will convincingly show that laying the foundations of a healthy future for all starts with giving each child the possibility to develop its potential.

The talk is aimed to inspire and show that everyone can play a role in contributing to a healthier future.

After this talk, you will know:

Tessa Roseboom is a Professor of Early Development and Health at the Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her work focusses on the impact of the early life environment on growth, development and health throughout life. 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 ( She applied the lessons learned about developmental plasticity to observational and experimental studies in current pregnancies, in developed and developing settings.

She is passionate about the societal impact of her work. Consequently, she advocates for investing in a good start in life by showing how fundamentally important a good start is in achieving the SDGs. She actively contributes to translating lessons from research into policy and practice. The ultimate aim of her work is to contribute to improved human health by giving each child the best possible start in life.