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The Social Impact of Epigenetics

Date & Time

Sunday, June 2, 2013
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
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Lipton Hall - D'Agostino Hall

Epigenetic discoveries reveal that environmental, dietary, behavioral, and medical experiences can significantly affect the development of an individual and sometimes their offspring. Identification of targets for epigenetic therapy is becoming a public health priority. As we trace epigenetic health problems back, will we begin to point a finger? Who takes responsibility for epigenetic changes? Explore the implications in ethics, society, and the law.

The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premiere public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and well-informed members of the general public.


  • Bill Blakemore

    Bill Blakemore became a reporter for ABC News more than 40 years ago, covering a wide variety of stories. He has spearheaded ABC’s coverage of global warming, traveling from the tropics to polar regions to report on the impacts and dangers of climate change, as well as possible solutions for it. More »


  • Frances A. Champagne

    Behavioral Scientist Frances A. Champagne is an associate professor in the department of psychology at Columbia University. Champagne’s research group explores the impact of experiences (stress, toxins, and social interactions) on the brain and behavior, as well as the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the interplay between environments and gene activity. More »
  • Nita A. Farahany

    Genome Sciences & Policy Lawyer Nita A. Farahany is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of biosciences and emerging technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience and behavioral genetics. More »
  • Lone Frank

    Journalist and Author Lone Frank is an award winning science journalist and author with a Ph.D. in neurobiology and a background in biomedical research. More »
  • Julie Herbstman

    Epidemiologist Trained as an epidemiologist, Julie Herbstman's research focuses on the impact of prenatal exposures to environmental pollutants, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on child growth and development. More »
  • Jean-Pierre Issa

    Molecular Biologist Jean-Pierre Issa is a professor of medicine and director at Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at Temple University. Issa’s laboratory has made important contributions to the understanding of the importance of epigenetics in the pathophysiology and treatment of cancer. More »
  • Randy L. Jirtle

    Geneticist Randy Jirtle headed the epigenetics and imprinting laboratory at Duke University until 2012. He is presently a visiting professor at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jirtle’s research interests are in epigenetics, genomic imprinting, and the fetal origins of disease susceptibility. More »