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The University of Southampton
0238077 7624

Professor Clive Osmond MA, PhD

Emeritus Professor

Professor Clive Osmond's photo
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Professor Clive Osmond is an Emeritus Professor within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

What do long-term follow-up studies of humans show about how our early growth and development influence our health and well-being later in life?

Professor Osmond trained in mathematics at the Universities of Cambridge (MA) and Bath (PhD) before joining the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit of the University of Southampton in 1980. Since 1984 he has worked, often with the late Professor Barker, on human epidemiological studies that have underpinned the “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease” hypothesis.

His main collaborations are with researchers in Finland, the Netherlands, India and Jamaica. In each of these settings he studies people whose early growth and development were recorded in detail some time ago, and he relates their early experience to their well-being later in life.


MA Mathematics, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge (1977)

PhD Mathematics, University of Bath (1980)

Appointments held

MRC Senior Scientist

Professor in Biostatistics , University of Southampton

Research interests

My work involves studying the extent to which health and disease in adult life are associated with growth trajectories early in life. This is done through the following international collaborations.

The Helsinki Birth Cohort Study includes 20,000 men and women born during 1924-44. The Finnish population have had a unique identification number since 1970 and we have used this to link their birth, infant welfare clinic and school records to current registers of death, hospital admission, cancer, reimbursed medication and also to the five-yearly census record. 2500 of the men and women have visited our clinics. We relate the trajectory of growth through birth, infancy, childhood and adult life to the risk of disease, controlling for socio-economic factors such as education, income and occupation. We use the cohort to study inter-generational risk transmission, the process of ageing and genetic factors.

We study the consequence on adult health of in utero exposure to the Dutch famine of 1944/45. A previously well-nourished population experienced a period of severe nutritional deprivation, resulting in much starvation. We group today’s adults of that generation according to their trimester of intra-uterine exposure to famine and search for critical periods of development for adult conditions.
I also advise The Amsterdam ABCD study of pregnancy and child health and well-being.

I am a researcher on the New Delhi Birth Cohort Study, in which we study 1500 men and women born in the city around 1970, regularly measured from birth through childhood and adolescence, who have visited research clinics as adults.
I am also an honorary member of Sneha, the Indian society for the study of the developmental origins of disease, and collaborate with researchers from several other institutions, including KEM Hospital, Pune.

I am part of “The Vulnerable Windows Study”, which includes 700 mothers, born in Kingston around 1993-5, who had ultrasound scans at six time-points in pregnancy and their offspring, who visit the clinic for follow-up measurements every six months.
I also look for long-term effects in adult of severe acute malnutrition in childhood, using data collected over many years at the Tropical Medicine Research Institute at The University of the West Indies.

I have been statistical advisor to the “Nordic Network” of studies on the developmental origins of health and disease.

Developing countries
I am statistical advisor to the “Cohorts” network of five longitudinal birth cohort studies in developing countries – Brazil, Guatemala, India, Philippines and South Africa.

I have been statistical advisor to the Thailand Research Association for Child and Family Development.

I advise a study in Marseille testing the French health record, a booklet retained by each citizen that includes measurements of height and weight at fixed points through childhood, to characterise growth trajectory and relate this to the structure and function of the heart.

Saudi Arabia
I work with physiologists in the Zoology department at King Saud University, studying long-term consequences of placental size, growth and structure.

World Health Organisation
I worked on a meta-analysis of whether maternal micronutrient supplementation in developing countries is associated with an increase in baby’s birthweight and an improvement in infant survival.

University of Southampton
I collaborate with researchers from the Medical School’s Human Development and Health division and advise the other statisticians in our group.


Professor Bo Abrahamsen, Glostrup Hospital, Denmark

Dr Saleh Al-wasel, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

Professor Linda Adair, University of North Carolina, USA (COHORTS collaboration)

Dr Marieke de Beer, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Professor Johan Eriksson, Helsinki University, Finland

Professor Caroline Fall, University of Southampton

Professor Tom Fleming, University of Southampton, UK

Professor Terrence Forrester, University of the West Indies

Dr Eero Kajantie, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland

Professor Dan Lackland, Medical University of South Carolina, USA

Professor Michelle Lampl, Emory University, USA

Professor Andrew Lotery, University of Southampton, UK

Professor Francisco Mardones, Santiago, Chile

Professor Reynaldo Martorel, Emory University, USA (COHORTS collaboration)

Professor Shane Norris, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa (COHORTS collaboration)

Professor David Phillips, University of Southampton

Professor Katri Raikkonen, Helsinki University, Finland

Professor Tessa Roseboom, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Professor Harshpal Singh Sachdev, Sitaram Bhartia Hospital, New Delhi, India.

Professor Graham Serjeant, Sickle Cell Trust, Kingston, Jamaica

Professor Umberto Simeoni, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland

Professor Thorkild Sorensen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Minerva Thame, University of the West Indies

Professor Kent Thornburg, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA

Professor Cesar Victora, University of Pelotas, Brazil

Professor Susan Walker, University of the West Indies

Professor Chittaranjan Yajnik, KEM Hospital Pune, India


Human Development and Health

Affiliate Department(s)

Human Development and Physiology

Has joint-supervised six PhD students and 25 MSc students In medical statistics

Statistical advisor to the Thailand Birth Cohort Study
Statistical advisor to the World Health Organisation review on the health effects of maternal micronutrient supplementation
Statistical advisor to the COHORTS consortium (Brazil, Guatemala, India, Philippines, South Africa) of developmental origins studies in low and middle-income countries
Statistical advisor to the Marseille study of early growth and young adult cardiovascular function
Statistical advisor to fetal programming group, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Statistical advisor to the Nordic network of developmental origins studies
Former editorial board member of “Statistics in Medicine”
Former examiner in medical statistics for the Royal Statistical Society, UK.

For twenty years taught “Epidemiological Methods” as part of the Southampton MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine.

Professor Clive Osmond
Phone: +44 (0) 23 8077 7624 Fax: +44 (0) 23 70 4021 Email:

Room Number: SGH/MRC/MP95

Telephone: 0238077 7624
Facsimile: (023) 8070 4021

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