SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Vardhman Rakyan, Gene-Environment Interactions

Monday May 8th

Vardhman Rakyan

Blizard Institute, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London

For my PhD (2003) I investigated epigenetic inheritance under the supervision of Prof. Emma Whitelaw, University of Sydney, Australia. From 2003-2007, I was a CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sanger Institute, UK; where, under the guidance of Dr Stephan Beck, I developed functional genomics tools for genome-wide DNA methylation analyses. I started up my lab at Queen Mary, University of London in 2007 to investigate the origins and consequences of mammalian epialleles.

Epigenetic variation and the developmental origins of mammalian phenotypes

Mammalian phenotypes are influenced by genetics and environment. These two factors rarely operate in isolation, but rather the environment modulates the effects of the underlying genetics. Recent compelling evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms, which are diverse and ubiquitous in eukaryotes, are a key mediator of environmental effects on genome function. Understanding the epigenetic basis of such gene-environment interactions is therefore crucial for elucidating the origins of mammalian phenotypes. I am particularly interested in ‘epialleles’ – loci at which the epigenetic state varies as a result of genetic and/or environmental influences. In my presentation, I will discuss the dynamics and functional consequences of gene-environment induced mammalian epiallelic variation that can arise at any time, from the moment of conception (in utero effects) and throughout the life of the individual (in the context of complex diseases, phenotypes, and ageing).

Read more about Vardhman Rakyans research here

Host: Gerli Rosengren Pielberg