In today’s post-genomic era we have an abundance of sequenced genomes that have contributed greatly to our knowledge of human health. However, despite this wealth of big data, we are still left with fundamental questions about the heritability and inheritance of complex disorders. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the cause of many common neurodevelopmental disorders cannot be understood by genetic sequence alone. Rather, the field of genetics is undergoing a paradigm shift, which is resulting in a modern synthesis of genetics with epigenetics. Epigenetic marks maintain gene expression profiles related to development and tissue specificity without altering their DNA sequence. They are heritable in dividing cells and yet distinct from transcription factors, however, they influence each other.
In my research, as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Janine LaSalle at the University of California (Davis), I utilize computational and experimental methods to examine the interaction between the environment and the epigenome during neurodevelopment. My postdoctoral research has been funded by both a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship award and a CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship award. When not working away on my research I contribute to EpiGenie as the Epigenetics Editor & Writer. I'm passionate about science communication, which has driven my interests into Stem Cells and Synthetic Biology. Outside of the science world I'm an amateur photographer who enjoys nature and cats.
We might use the name ‘epigenetics’ for such studies, thus emphasizing their relation to the concepts, so strongly favourable to the classical theory of epigenesis, which have been reached by the experimental embryologists. We certainly need to remember that between genotype and phenotype, and connecting them to each other, there lies a whole complex of developmental processes. It is convenient to have a name for this complex: ‘epigenotype’ seems suitable."