The Neonatal Window of Opportunity, Early Priming for Life

Beginn: 05. Dez 16, 14:00 Uhr | Ende: 07. Dez 16, 15:00 Uhr | Schloss Herrenhausen

The latest research on the critical importance of the early postnatal priming period for life long immune homeostasis and health will be discussed at the Herrenhausen Conference on December 5-7, 2016, in Hanover.

The latest research on the critical importance of the early postnatal priming period will be discussed in Hanover, Germany. (Photo: Herrndorff -

Link to the extensive conference summary.

Environmental, nutritional and microbial exposure modulates important biological processes in our body including the maturation of our immune system. Recent epidemiological and experimental studies indicate that exogenous factors when encountered early in life can result in life long imprinting of immune and other processes and thereby predispose for disease resistance or susceptibility. This phenomenon is known as "window of opportunity" to describe the restricted time frame during early development during which the influence can take place. These findings thus shed light on a new interrelationship between early postnatal development and long term health and represent a possible paradigm shift in the understanding of the etiology of human diseases with major influence on future epidemiological studies and impact on the clinical management and care of neonates and young children.

To obtain more insight in the interaction between the environment and the host during this early time in life a cooperative effort between researchers of different disciplines and an extended view on epidemiological links between early exposure and disease development is needed overcoming the traditional view on the etiology of human diseases. The Herrenhausen Conference "The neonatal window of opportunity, early priming for life" aims at providing a first step in this direction in order to initiate inter-actions and cooperative initiatives and booster future research on factors that influence the priming period early in life and determine the susceptibility to disease in adult individuals.

Herrenhausen Conference: "The neonatal window of opportunity, early priming for life"
December 5-7, 2016 
Herrenhausen Palace, Hannover, Germany


Prof. Mathias Hornef, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Germany and
Prof. Harald Renz, Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg (UKGM), Germany

Our Conference Topics at a Glance

  • Organ development & environmental exposure of the neonate
  • Maturation of the immune system
  • Age-dependent susceptibility to immune mediated disease
  • Age-dependent susceptibility to infection
  • Mechanisms of adaptation to postnatal life
  • Functional consequences of neonatal exposure
  • Environmental exposure & disease susceptibility
  • Perspectives of Future Research in the Field of early priming of life

Confirmed Chairs and Speakers

Academic titles have been omitted.

Rebecca Adkins, University of Miami, USA, Richard Blumberg, Harvard University, USA, Donna Faber, Columbia University Medical Center, USA, Johan Garssen, University of Utrecht, Netherlands, Peter Ghazal, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, David Hackam, Johns Hopkins Children's Center Baltimore, USA, Gesine Hansen, Hannover Medical School, Germany, Mathias Hornef, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Germany, Arnaud Marchant, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, Benjamin Marsland, University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, Kathy McCoy, University of Bern, Switzerland, John Penders, Maastricht University, Netherlands, Immo Prinz, Hannover Medical School, Germany, Harald Renz, Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg (UKGM), Germany, Xin Sun, University of California, USA, Sina Bartfeld, University of Würzburg, Germany, Henrique Veiga-Fernandes, University of Lisbon, Portugal, Valérie Verhasselt, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France, Erika von Mutius, Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich, Germany, Jeffrey Weiser, University of Pennsylvania, USA, Duane Wesemann, Harvard University, USA, Agnes Wold, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


The conference language is English.


If you would like to attend the conference, please register by clicking on "Register Now" in the column on the right. There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential.

Credit Points for German Physicians

Approved as "Fortbildungsveranstaltung gemäß der Fortbildungsordnung der Ärztekammer Niedersachsen" Veranstaltungsnummer: 2760302016289450007,


Please note that you are responsible for booking your accommodation. As Hannover is a city that hosts many fairs, we recommend booking a hotel as soon as you register.


Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend the conference. We have a waiting list for the meeting and can offer your place to another person if you cannot attend. Simply use the registration tool to cancel or send us an email.

Venue and public transport

The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace, a new conference center in Hannover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".

Herrenhausen Conferences

With its Herrenhausen Conferences the Volkswagen Foundation provides international experts as well as junior researchers with a platform for an intense interdisciplinary dialogue on exciting new areas of research and innovative methodological approaches. The main focus of the conferences does lie on the current challenges faced by each research area rather than on further in-depth discussions and analyses of individual well-established topics. We are interested in unanswered questions and unsolved problems - and in the respective research field's relevance for society.