Caroline Fall is a retired paediatrician and epidemiologist. Her research focused on the developmental origins of adult chronic disease, especially type 2 diabetes, investigating how maternal nutrition and metabolism in pregnancy affect the lifelong type 2 diabetes risk for her children. Her research work was mainly in low- and middle-income countries, principally India. Clinically, she was a member of the Children’s Diabetes team at Southampton General hospital.
- Maternal nutrition in pregnancy
- Gestational diabetes
- Long-term effects of fetal nutrition on health and chronic disease, especially type 2 diabetes
Prof Fall is no longer leading research. She currently acts in an advisory role to birth cohort studies and projects testing interventions to improve maternal nutrition and health during pregnancy in order to improve fetal cognitive development and long-term health.
Prof Fall is no longer active in teaching.
External roles and responsibilities
Caroline Fall studied medicine at the University of Bristol, qualifying in 1978, followed by clinical training in General Medicine, General Practice and Paediatrics. She joined the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (then the Environmental Epidemiology Unit) in 1989, to study the Hertfordshire birth cohort, and showed for the first time that low birthweight and infant weight were associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes in adult life. Since 1993, she has been working on the fetal origins of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mainly in Indian populations, building up collaborations in several centres in India.
Caroline worked with a team of epidemiologists, nutritionists and statisticians investigating the fetal origins of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes and the maternal factors influencing fetal growth. Her chief role was to lead a programme of research involving 7 centres in India. These studies include: 1) the follow-up of children and adults whose size at birth was recorded, 2) prospective cohort studies on the short and long-term effects on the offspring of maternal nutritional status and glucose/insulin metabolism during pregnancy, and more recently, 3) randomised studies of interventions to improve maternal nutrition, starting pre-conceptionally.
Caroline was the moving force and organising secretary for the First World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) held in Mumbai, India, February 2001, and was a member of the scientific planning committees for subsequent DOHaD Congresses, held in Toronto (2005), Santiago, Chile (2009), Portland, Oregon (2011) and Capetown, S Africa (2013). She was secretary of the International DOHaD Society from 2003-2013, and continues to serve on its executive council. She was awarded the David Barker Medal, the DOHaD society’s highest award for scientific achievement and leadership, in 2013. In 2019 she was awarded the March of Dimes Agnes Higgins Award for her contributions to maternal/fetal research. In 2022 she was awarded the Gopalan Oration Gold Medal by the Nutrition Society of India.
Her clinical interests were in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, and she was a member of the UHS children’s diabetes team from 1989 to 2021.
Caroline Fall retired in 2021. She has over 300 original research publications.
- 2019 US March of Dimes Agnes Higgins Award. (2019)
- Chair, Data Monitoring and Safety Committee, PAPAGENO trial. (2018)
- Member, Medical Research Council Nutrition Research Partnership (2017)