Public Health Epigenomics: Integrating Environment and Human Health

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marshall Ballroom West (Marriott Wardman Park)
Environmental pollutant exposure is a global public health concern that disproportionately affects disadvantaged people in both developed and developing countries. Exposures impact public health through higher health care costs, lost productivity, greater incidence of infectious disease, and increased mortality. Limiting these effects on the global community requires innovative approaches to understanding and predicting susceptibility to exposure effects in at-risk populations. An individual’s genetic make-up plays an important role in their response to pollutant exposure; however, the intrinsic mechanisms regulating gene expression, collectively called the epigenome, also play a pivotal role in exposure outcomes. These epigenetic regulators, such as chromatin modifications, DNA methylation, and non-coding RNAs, function as critical, dynamic mediators of gene expression, shaping the way cells, tissues, and individuals respond to pollutant exposure. This symposium provides an overview of the epigenome and mechanisms associated with changes in it. Speakers discuss current research on the role of the epigenome as a mediator of health effects from prenatal air pollutant exposures, exposures during critical developmental stages based on studies conducted in Egypt and Mexico, and the effects of environmental exposures on both immune system function and carcinogenesis.
Shaun McCullough, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dana Dolinoy, University of Michigan
Kari Nadeau, Stanford University School of Medicine
Translating Epigenetics to Cellular Function and Health Outcomes