2014 Healthy Development Adelaide Award

Professor Robert Norman

Professor Robert Norman AO, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide

Professor Robert Norman was presented with the Healthy Development Adelaide Award at the 10th Anniversary HDA Oration; ‘Destiny's children or fortune's orphans - lessons from the start of life'.

Professor Robert Norman holds a personal chair as Professor of Reproductive and Periconceptual Medicine at the University of Adelaide. He was HDA’s Co-founding Convenor from 2004-2013 and Director of the Robinson Research Institute from 2008-2013. His major research contributions have been in IVF and reproductive endocrinology, particularly in PCOS, the effect of lifestyle on reproductive outcomes and periconception medicine. He is an active reproductive medicine specialist at Fertility SA. He currently serves on the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Research and Embryo licensing committees and was awarded an Order of Australia (AO) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Distinguished Researcher Award in 2013.

Oration overview: The time of conception is one where millions of years of genetic selection from two individuals combine through sperm and egg to form a new individual. The embryo and developing baby are highly influenced by the prevailing environment and the genetic trajectory is profoundly altered by outside influences in which the embryo develops. There is surely no other time of life in which such major changes occur and where action is potentially more successful. Periconception planning leads us away from unquestioning acceptance of genetic destiny or despairing watching of environmental randomness. This may be the best investment in health we can make.

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