Guest lecture of interest. Dr. Claudia Buss explores Fetal Programming of Neurodevelopment and Risk for Psychiatric Disorders

“Fetal Programming of Neurodevelopment and Risk for Psychiatric Disorders - The Role of Intrauterine Stress and Stress Biology”

Dr. Buss is a Professor in the Department of Medical Psychology at the Charité -­‐ Universitätsmedizin  Berlin. Her work focuses on pre-and postnatal programming of brain development and cognitive function, specifically in stress biology during pregnancy. Dr.Buss’s training was in Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery at the McGill University, Montreal, in Clinical and Theoretical Psychobiology at the University of Trier, Germany, and in Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine.

Date: Friday, Aug.14, 2015
Time: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Location: Room 2108, CFRI
Tanya Erb
604.875.2345 x5901

Dr. Michael Kobor awarded Canada Research Chair

Dr. Michael Kobor, an Affiliate Scholar with HELP, has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics. Dr. Kobor’s lab focuses on epigenetics, the relationship between our genes and our environment. His team is working on collaborative research into factors leading to fetal alcohol syndrome, asthma and COPD, as well as the effects of socio-economic status on gene expression.

 Dr. Kobor – Mike - has worked closely with HELP for the past six years. This Chair will allow him and his lab to continue to focus on aspects of brain dynamics and neural-networking, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, and early social experience and biobehavioral development during childhood.

Congratulations Mike.

The University of British Columbia recently received $11.6 million for 16 new and renewed federally funded Canada Research Chairs. Please visit the UBC Public Affairs page for more information about this funding announcement.

RSC and CAHS Expert Panel on Early Childhood Development releases report outlining importance of early years

In an effort to advance public discussion on the role of early adversity in shaping adolescence and young adulthood, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) gathered an Expert Panel on Early Childhood Development. The Panel, chaired by Prof. Michel Boivin, FRSC, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Child Development, at Université Laval, and Dr. Clyde Hertzman, FRSC, Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership and Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at The University of British Columbia, was mandated to consider a large body of scientific evidence that, if summarized for the public, would be helpful to their consideration of the issues surrounding early childhood development.

The Expert Panel is pleased to announce the release of its report, The Royal Society of Canada & The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Expert Panel: Early Childhood Development, outlining an emerging science, which integrates genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience and developmental science, and that will transform our knowledge of early development by providing a deeper understanding of how the environment and biology jointly influence development over the life course.

The report is a consensus document based on the following two questions:

1. Are there identifiable ...

read more

HELP Faculty featured in latest PNAS edition

HELP is excited to announce that the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) features a number of studies from Dr. Tom Boyce and his research colleagues, including Dr. Marla B. Sokolowski and former Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow (HELP), Dr. Jelena Obradović . Dr. Clyde Hertzman is also featured in this edition.  Highlights are included below.

Boyce, W. T., Obradović, J., Bush, N. R., Stamperdahl, J., Kim, Y. S., & Adler, N. (2012). Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Boyce, W. T., Sokolowski, M. B., & Robinson, G. E. (2012). Toward a new biology of social adversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Burns, J. G., Svetec, N., Rowe, L., Mery, F., Dolan, M. J., Boyce, W. T., & Sokolowski, M. B. (2012). Gene-environment interplay in Drosophila melanogaster: Chronic food deprivation in early life affects adult exploratory and fitness traits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Hertzman, C. (2012). Putting the concept of biological embedding in historical perspective. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ziol-Guest, K. M., Duncan, G. J., Kalil, A ...

read more

Kobor, CMMT study shows genes and immune system shaped by childhood poverty, stress

A University of British Columbia and Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) study has revealed that childhood poverty, stress as an adult, and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity, all leave an imprint on a person’s genes. And, that this imprint could play a role in our immune response.

The study was published last week in a special volume of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looks at how experiences beginning before birth and in the years after can affect the course of a person’s life.

Known as epigenetics, or the study of changes in gene expression, this research examined a process called DNA methylation where a chemical molecule is added to DNA and acts like a dimmer on a light bulb switch, turning genes on or off or setting them somewhere in between. Research has shown that a person’s life experiences play a role in shaping DNA methylation patterns.

The research team discovered that childhood poverty, but not socioeconomic status as an adult, was correlated with the marks or methylation patterns left on genes.

“We found biological residue of early life poverty,” said Michael Kobor, an associate professor of medical genetics ...

read more

CIHR CAFÉ SCIENTIFIQUE - Epigenetics, and how early experiences may affect your health later in life

What causes the complex illnesses associated with aging, like cancer and heart disease? Each day we discover new genes associated with these diseases. But as we learn more about the genetic code, it becomes clearer that what’s written in our DNA is only part of the story. There are other factors, such as socioeconomic status, that seem to play an important role in health.

Now a new area of research, known as epigenetics, is building upon our knowledge of the human genome. Epigeneticists study the ways that our environment can have a long-term impact on the activity of our genes. And recent advances in technology are giving researchers remarkable new tools to study how nature interacts with nurture.

Date: March 27, 2012
Time: 7:00pm
Where: Granville Island Hotel, 1253 Johnston St., Vancouver
Cost: Free
Hosted by: CIHR and its Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction in collaboration with the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium.

Dr. W. Thomas Boyce, PhD
Professor, Sunny Hill Health Centre/BC Leadership Chair in Child Development
School of Population and Public Health and Faculty of Medicine, UBC

Dr. Martin Hirst, PhD
Scientist, Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC ...

read more