Welcome Addresses


Message from the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit

I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone attending the international symposium “Perinatal Programming – The State of the Art” here in Germany’s capital city. I am delighted about the great interest in this important scientific congress being hosted by the Charité’s renowned obstetrics clinic. The fact that leading international experts in perinatal programming are convening here to report on current findings in the field and discuss the latest studies, practical questions, and the future of this cutting-edge research area with physicians in different disciplines can also be seen as a tribute to Berlin as a center of science and medicine.

This meeting is taking place at an ideal time: in 2010, Berlin will be celebrating major anniversaries of five of its oldest and most important scientific institutions – the Charité, Humboldt University, the Academy of Sciences, the State Library, and the Max Planck Society – and we are taking advantage of this event to honor the sciences in our city. In retrospect, we can see that Berlin prioritized knowledge as a resource early on, an approach that paid off in myriad scientific innovations and a long list of Nobel Prize winners. Especially around the turn of the century, Berlin was one of the world’s trailblazers in medicine, chemistry, and physics.

Based on this grand tradition, today’s Berlin is sharpening its profile as a modern center of science, medicine, and research. The city’s special strengths undoubtedly include perinatal programming, now a field that enjoys international renown. Berlin’s Charité has been pursuing this work since the mid-1970s and has made it the focus of its “Experimental Obstetrics” research group.

International exchange is becoming ever more vital to approaches like this one, with its enormous potential for preventing disease. With this in mind, I would again like to welcome the congress participants to Berlin. I hope you will enjoy a very productive symposium, and I would like to wish everyone coming from outside the city a very pleasant stay in Berlin. I hope you will return home with fresh inspiration and many new ideas.


Klaus Wowereit
-Governing Mayor of Berlin-

Dear colleagues, dear friends,


it gives me great honor and pleasure to welcome you to the first international symposium ‘Perinatal Programming – The State of the Art’.

During recent years, the traditional view on the origins of health and diseases is changing rapidly. More and more it becomes clear that there is no static interaction between genes and the environment during the life span but that plastic conditioning of the biological ‘hardware’ occurs during critical periods of life in the womb and neonatal period and co-determines the long-term fate of an organism. This ‘setting’ of fundamental life functions and dispositions for diseases has been introduced as ‘Perinatal Programming’ and might be the most important mechanism in the developmental origins of health and disease, beyond classical teratogenesis and aging. Since it opens fundamentally new perspectives of preventing diseases before they start to develop genuine prophylaxis seems to become possible and this should be of enormous benefit for the individual as well as for societies in the future.

The roots of ‘Perinatal Programming’ grew here in Berlin in the 1970s, initiated and substantially promoted by Günter Dörner and his team. So it is a special pleasure for me that with this ‘State of the Art’ meeting we go back to a place of early origins of the whole field. Moreover, in 2010 the 300th anniversary of the Charité and the 200th anniversary of the Humboldt University are celebrated. To bring together the leading experts in ‘Perinatal Programming’ just on these occasions here and under the patronage of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, is a special honor and pleasure for our ‘Experimental Obstetrics’ research group.

I would like to thank all the world-wide recognized plenary speakers for giving us the honor of their participation and I am very grateful to the ‘hot topics’ speakers for their valuable contributions. Especially, I would like to thank all the plenum participants from some 30 countries and five continents for their attendance. Without your engaged interest in the field this meeting would not have been possible.

In these uncertain times of a global financial and economic crisis, we should give our best attention to chances and challenges of prevention for future generations. Sustainability need not remain to be an empty phrase, but can be animated especially in the field of preventive perinatology and developmental medicine. To discuss and promote this in an interdisciplinary discourse between basic science and practical medicine is a core aim of our congress.

I wish you a lot of inspiring scientific impressions and discussions, friendly personal contacts and a very pleasant stay in Berlin.


Professor Andreas Plagemann
-Initiator and Congress President-