Developmental origins of disease: Effects of early-life chemical exposure on the reproductive, metabolic, and neuronal systems (2 hp)

This course will be offered for the first time June 13-17, 2022 at EBC.

The preliminary schedule will be linked here within shortly

Contacts: Maria Jönsson,, Theodora Kunovac Kallak,

Target group. PhD students from Uppsala University and SLU are prioritized. Acceptance of PhD students from other universities, researchers, postdoctoral fellows and master students finalizing their thesis work is subject to availability.

Suitable background. PhD and licentiate students in biology, medicine, veterinary medicine, food science, nutrition, nursing, or related areas, or in a specialist training program (e.g. resident) or equivalent within the same subjects are accepted.

Course aim. To provide holistic understanding and broad knowledge of developmental toxicity in vertebrates, focusing on reproduction, neuronal functions, and metabolism. The overall goal is to help build a base for collaboration among researchers from different areas.


  • Barker hypothesis and the principle of developmental programming
  • Molecular pathways important for development of the reproductive organs, brain, and metabolic functions
  • Effects and mode of actions of some well-studied toxicants that impact the development of reproductive, neuronal, and metabolic systems in vertebrates
  • Regulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • In vitro and in vivo models for the study of developmental toxicity of the reproductive, neuronal, and metabolic systems

Course Description. This course deals with consequences of early-life exposure to anthropogenic chemicals with focus on the reproductive, neuronal and metabolic systems. Blood and tissue samples from humans and animals contain a large number of pollutants indicating that we are all exposed to some degree. Developing individuals tend to be more sensitive than adults to such exposure and epidemiological and experimental data suggest that developmental exposure to chemicals increases the risk for disease later in life.

The course, which is given during five consecutive days on full time, consists of a series of lectures, presentations of students own research, and group discussions. It ends with an examination where the students present knowledge about selected environmental pollutants considering developmental effects on the reproductive, neuronal and metabolic systems, and underlying mechanisms. The presentation should evaluate risks for developmental toxicity in the three health domains and consider variation in sensitivity among different animal taxa.

Course organization. The course is organized by the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Uppsala (CRU) together with the departments of Organismal Biology (IOB) and Women's and Children's Health (KBH) at Uppsala University, and the developmental biology platform at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). 

Course literature: A list of scientific papers associated with the lecturers

Grading and examination. The course is graded on a Pass/Fail basis. To receive the grade “Pass” active participation and 80 % attendance is required. The participants should in advance prepare a 5-min presentation of their own project and present it during the course. The examination will be in the form of a presentation of a group task. Ten lecture hours are scheduled for discussions and reflections to prepare for this.

Course syllabus

Electronic registration

Last modified: 2021-10-20