At the University of Pennsylvania

What makes us who we are? How does the world around us interact with our underlying genetic code? Does Nature or Nurture shape us into the people we become?

We now know that it’s not just nature or nurture that’s important but both, and they converge within the realm of epigenetics. Epigenetics, in its broadest sense, explores how our environment can change the expression of our genes. By studying this complex interaction, we hope to explain how our underlying DNA code, or ‘nature’, can be influenced by ‘nurture’, or the experiences we have throughout our lives.

Our lab works at the intersection of neuroscience and epigenetics. Epigenetics is extremely important in neuronal function and contributes to the creation of new memories, our ability to adapt to our environment, and the development of neurological disorders. In the lab, we study how the world around us can influence gene regulation in the brain. This research may have far reaching implications, helping us to understand how we become the people we are today and the neurological disorders that result when these epigenetic mechanisms are lost.