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)

  • Chua, S. Y.-L., Sabanayagam, C., Tan, C.-S., Lim, L. S., Toh, J.-Y., Chong, Y.-S., ... Ngo, C. S. (2018). Diet and risk of myopia in three-year-old Singapore children: the GUSTO cohort. Clinical & experimental optometry, 101 (5), 692-699. 10.1111/cxo.12677
  • Ta, L. D. H., Chan, J. C. Y., Yap, G. C., Purbojati, R. W., Moses, D., Huang, C. H., ... Van, B. H. P. S. (2018). Perturbation of stool short chain fatty acids profiles associated with distinct microbiome maturation in atopic eczema infants. Paper presented at Congress of the European-Academy-of-Allergy-and-Clinical-Immunology (EAACI), Munich, GERMANY. 26 May - 30 May 2018. ALLERGY. (pp. 2).
  • Tint, M. T., Chong, M. F., Aris, I. M., Godfrey, K. M., Quah, P. L., Kapur, J., ... Yap, F. (2018). Association between maternal mid-gestation vitamin D status and neonatal abdominal adiposity. International journal of obesity (2005), 42 (7), 1296-1305. 10.1038/s41366-018-0032-2
  • Bernard, J. Y., Pan, H., Aris, I. M., Moreno-Betancur, M., Soh, S.-E., Yap, F., ... Gluckman, P. D. (2018). Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, gestation duration, and birth size: a Mendelian randomization study using fatty acid desaturase variants. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition10.1093/ajcn/nqy079
  • Li, L.-J., Tan, K. H., Aris, I. M., Man, R. E. K., Gan, A. T. L., Chong, Y. S., ... Lamoureux, E. (2018). Retinal vasculature and 5-year metabolic syndrome among women with gestational diabetes mellitus. Metabolism: clinical and experimental, 83, 216-224. 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.10.004
  • Chen, L.-W., Tint, M.-T., Fortier, M. V., Aris, I. M., Shek, L. P.-C., Tan, K. H., ... Godfrey, K. M. (2018). Body composition measurement in young children using quantitative magnetic resonance: a comparison with air displacement plethysmography. Pediatric obesity, 13 (6), 365-373. 10.1111/ijpo.12250
  • Bardsley, A., Low, F., Gluckman, P., & Office of the PM’s Chief Science Advisor (2018). Methamphetamine contamination in residential properties: Exposures, risk levels, and interpretation of standards. Auckland, New Zealand: Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Felicia Low, Anne Bardsley
  • Soh, S.-E., Goh, A., Teoh, O. H., Godfrey, K. M., Gluckman, P. D., Shek, L. P.-C., & Chong, Y.-S. (2018). Pregnancy Trimester-Specific Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Child Respiratory Health Outcomes in the First 2 Years of Life: Effect Modification by Maternal Pre-Pregnancy BMI. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15 (5).10.3390/ijerph15050996

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 0, Room 005
New Zealand