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Robert McCanceRobert McCance was born in 1898, the son of an Ulster linen merchant. After leaving school his first duty was military service, spending the years of World War I with the Royal Naval Air Service. It was only after his service that he went to read natural sciences at Cambridge, then going on to study medicine at King's College Hospital in London.

It was in the kitchens of King's College that he met Elsie Widdowson, and the duo made a formidable scientific partnership. Much of McCance's work was seminal and concerned food composition and nutrition, but his talents were many and varied. Although his food compsotion tables are perhaps the most significant of his publications, he also played a role in the design and development of, among other things, inflatable life rafts.

Robert McCance MedalIn later years McCance was the caretaker director of the Medical Research Council's infantile malnutrition unit in Kampala, Uganda, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1948 and appointed CBE in 1953. He died on March 5th, 1993.

Since 1994, a year after his death, the Neonatal Society has hosted the McCance lecture, now a regularly annual event. Each lecture is delivered whilst wearing the McCance medal (pictured right). The first ever lecture was delivered by his long-time colleague, Elsie Widdowson.

The lectures so far are as follows:

2016, London: Professor Kate Costeloe
Forty years on: changes, challenges and new solutions

2015, London: Professor Malcolm Macleod
Why Preclinical Trials Fail to Translate

2014, London: Professor Tim Cole
Describing Growth in Infancy and Childhood

2013, London: Dr Anne McCartney
Early Nutrition and the Gut Microbiota

2012, London: Professor Ann Hellström
ROP pathogenesis, diagnosis & therapies (today's and future)

2011, London: Professor Abigail Fowden
The placenta and fetal programming

2010, London: N Marlow
Preterm neurodevelopment - strategies to avoid long term follow up

2009, London: H Hagberg
Hypoxia-ischemia in the neonatal brain: molecular mechanisms of injury

2008, London: E Saliba
White matter injury: from pathogenesis to prevention

2007, London: T Costello
The evidence base for saving newborn lives in the developing world

2006, London: M Fitzgerald
Neonatal pain processing

2005 Lecture 1, London: M Hanson
Developmental origins of health and disease: concepts, mechanisms and implications

2005 Lecture 2, London: O Saugstad
Air vs 100% oxygen for resuscitation of asphyxiated infants: time to decide

2004, London: L de Vries
Neonatal neuroimaging - the last 30 years

2003, London: D FitzPatrick
Identifying genes that cause human malformations

2002, London: A Prentice
Yokesacs, placentas and breasts: nutritional regulation of early growth

There are no online programmes for these older lectures:

2001, London: C Blakemore
The nature of nurture in the development of the brain

1999, London: J Owens
Placental restriction and the impact of IGF-1 on fetal growth

1998, London: A Jackson
Nutrition during pregnancy

1995, London: A Lucas
Nutritional Programming - back to the future

1994, London: E Widdowson
Why think? Why not try the experiment?

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