Prof Sir Peter David Gluckman



Professor Peter Gluckman’s research focuses on what gives us a healthy start to life: understanding how a baby’s environment between conception and birth determines its childhood development and life-long health - and the impact that this knowledge has for individuals and whole populations.

His research has won him numerous awards and international recognition including Fellowship of the Commonwealth’s most prestigious scientific organisation, The Royal Society (London). He is the only New Zealander elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science (USA) and the Academy of Medical Sciences of Great Britain.

In 2009 he became a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit replacing the 2008 Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to medicine and having previously been made a Companion of the Order in 1997. In 2001 he received New Zealand’s top science award, the Rutherford Medal.

He resigned from his directorships of the Liggins Institute and the National Research Centre of Growth and Development (NRCGD) (now Gravida) to avoid potential conflicts of interest in taking up his part time appointment as the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 01 July 2009. He continues to be based in the Liggins Institute as an active researcher and member of the Institute.

A University of Auckland Distinguished Professor, he is Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Biology. He was formerly Chairman of the Department of Paediatrics and Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences for nine years. He has been extensively involved in many aspects of science, health and educational policy development.

Professor Gluckman is an international advocate for science, promoting the translation of discoveries in biomedical research into improvements in long term health outcomes. His work with organisations such as the WHO has brought growing recognition of the importance of a healthy start to life.

He is the author of over 500 scientific papers and reviews and editor of eight books, including two influential textbooks in his subject area.

He is passionate about communicating a better understanding of science in the community and, with colleague Mark Hanson of The University of Southampton, has co-authored two books for non-scientific audiences: The Fetal Matrix (2004) which summarises his ideas on how events in early life lead to altered disease risk in later life and Mismatch - why our world no longer fits our bodies (2006).

Mismatch explains how our efforts to make our lives more comfortable have, in fact, worked against us and that many of our current social and health problems - such as the current obesity epidemic, and its consequences including diabetes and heart disease, are the result of our bodies not keeping pace with the rate at which we have redesigned the world we now inhabit.

With Hanson and Dr Alan Beedle he is co-author of the first text book and organised summary of evolutionary medicine Principles of Evolutionary Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2009), published 200 years after Charles Darwin's birth.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • van Lee, L., Cai, S., Loy, S. L., Tham, E. K. H., Yap, F. K. P., Godfrey, K. M., ... Goh, D. Y. T. (2017). Relation of plasma tryptophan concentrations during pregnancy to maternal sleep and mental well-being: The GUSTO cohort. Journal of affective disorders, 225, 523-529. 10.1016/j.jad.2017.08.069
  • Aris, I. M., Chen, L.-W., Tint, M. T., Pang, W. W., Soh, S. E., Saw, S.-M., ... Chong, Y.-S. (2017). Body mass index trajectories in the first two years and subsequent childhood cardio-metabolic outcomes: a prospective multi-ethnic Asian cohort study. Scientific reports, 7 (1)10.1038/s41598-017-09046-y
  • Aris, I. M., Bernard, J. Y., Chen, L.-W., Tint, M. T., Pang, W. W., Soh, S. E., ... Gluckman, P. D. (2017). Modifiable risk factors in the first 1000 days for subsequent risk of childhood overweight in an Asian cohort: Significance of parental overweight status. International journal of obesity (2005)10.1038/ijo.2017.178
  • Loy, S. L., Wee, P. H., Colega, M. T., Cheung, Y. B., Aris, I. M., Chan, J. K. Y., ... Shek, L. P.-C. (2017). Maternal Night-Fasting Interval during Pregnancy Is Directly Associated with Neonatal Head Circumference and Adiposity in Girls but Not Boys. The Journal of nutrition10.3945/jn.117.250639
  • Loo, E. X.-L., Goh, A., Aris, I. B. M., Teoh, O. H., Shek, L. P.-C., Lee, B. W., ... Saw, S.-M. (2017). Effects of infant weight gain on subsequent allergic outcomes in the first 3 years of life. BMC pediatrics, 17 (1)10.1186/s12887-017-0890-0
  • Wee, P. H., Loy, S. L., Toh, J. Y., Tham, E. K. H., Cheung, Y. B., Godfrey, K. M., ... Lek, N. (2017). Circadian feeding patterns of 12-month-old infants. The British journal of nutrition, 117 (12), 1702-1710. 10.1017/s0007114517001684
  • Bernard, J. Y., Tint, M. T., Aris, I. M., Chen, L. W., Quah, P. L., Tan, K. H., ... Shek, L. (2017). Maternal plasma phosphatidylcholine polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy and offspring growth and adiposity. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 121, 21-29. 10.1016/j.plefa.2017.05.006
  • Pang, W. W., Bernard, J. Y., Thavamani, G., Chan, Y. H., Fok, D., Soh, S.-E., ... Yap, F. (2017). Direct vs. Expressed Breast Milk Feeding: Relation to Duration of Breastfeeding. Nutrients, 9 (6).10.3390/nu9060547

Contact details

Primary location

Level 0, Room 005
New Zealand