By Mari Hoffman, Genetics and Genomics ‘21 Author’s Note: I chose to interview Dr.LaSalle because of my interest in epigenetics and the relationship that our genes have with environmental interactions. Dr. LaSalle’s lab focuses on the role of epigenetics in the human autism-spectrum and many other neurodegenerative disorders. Her research group looks at the pathogenesis of the disorders by focusing on heritable changes that are not encoded in the DNA, such as DNA methylation and imprinted genes. It was an honor to get to talk to Dr. LaSalle about her research, as she is extremely passionate about this very complex and exciting topic.
By Wren Greaney, History major, Biological Sciences & Community Development minor, ’17 Author’s Note: “I became interested in the impact of epigenetics after reading an article about the effects of environmental pollution on generations beyond the population subjected to the pollution. So much focus in human biology is placed on genetics; it is fascinating that a closely related and significant topic exists that is unique from genetics itself. As epigenetic research progresses, I think it will find a large role in advancing healthcare as well as our understandings about humans’ biological identities.”
By Marisa Sanchez, Genetics ’15 Most people know that poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking as an adult can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type II diabetes. However, research over the past couple of decades has shown that risk for CVD and type II diabetes could begin as early as prenatally through adverse exposures, such as overnutrition and placental insufficiency. Some mechanisms involved in determining risk for CVD and Type II diabetes are oxidative stress, inflammation, lipotoxicity, and epigenetics.