Location: Armenise Amphitheater at Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston (link to directions)
Speakers: Nava Gharaei, Kalki Jukreja, and Jenny Zheng
All the cells in our body have the same DNA, and yet a stomach cell is able to digest food while a heart cell pumps blood. Similarly, genetically identical individuals have the same DNA, yet they develop into unique individuals with distinct habits, preferences, and behavioral traits. Clearly there is more to us than just our genetic makeup. This additional layer of information is defined by epigenetics, which literally means “above genetics”. Our lifestyle, habits and environment shape our epigenetics, which is altered throughout our lifetime and can be passed to our future generations. Epigenetic factors have been shown to play a role in diseases like cancer, obesity, and diabetes. We will demonstrate how these epigenetic factors may be inherited and their potential impact on the future generation. In this lecture, we will tell stories demonstrating the role epigenetics plays in our daily lives, the biology behind epigenetics, and its implication on human health and disease.