Science Café 2015 Speaker Series

The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

PCC’s Willow Creek Campus
241 SW Edgeway, Beaverton (NW 185th at Baseline).
Willow Creek Max Station on Hillsboro Line

7:00 p.m. Free to the Public

October 6 – “Epigenetics, the Epigenome, and Chronic Disease”Lucia Carbone, PhD
The term “epigenetics” is used to indicate heritable changes in gene expression that occur in the absence of changes to the DNA sequence itself (“epi” = “over”). These are chemical changes that often reflect gene-environment interaction and can affect development and predisposition to chronic disease. In this lecture, you will learn about the most common epigenetic modification and how scientists study them. Dr. Carbone will also discuss epigenetics in the context of the developmental origins of disease.

October 13 – “Impact of Maternal Nutrition and Obesity on Placental Function”Antonio Frias, MD
The placenta regulates nutrient flow from mother to fetus and likely plays a central role in mediating the adverse obstetric/neonatal risks associated with obesity and/or diabetic pregnancies. What factors might influence the optimum functioning of the placenta? Dr.Frias’ research resulted in the first report relating placental hemodynamic abnormalities in a primate placenta to a high fat diet,suggesting that a Western style diet may have an impact on the adverse obstetric and neonatal consequences reported in the obese human population.

October 20 – “Epigenetics and Health: The Roots of Disease”Panel Discussion: Kent Thornburg, PhD; Susan Bagby, MD; Nicole Marshall, MD
Kent Thornburg, PhD, director of the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness, and professor of medicine at OHSU, is an internationally recognized leader in the research field known as the developmental origins of health and disease. He studies the vital connection between maternal diet, the quality of fetal growth and epigenetics – how adult onset diseases are“programmed” in the womb. Susan Bagby, MD, OHSU Professor of Medicine, Chairs the Community Education & Outreach Committee at the Moore Institute. Her research focuses on early nutritional programming as a precursor to adult hypertension. Nicole Marshall, MD, MCR, FACOG, is an Assistant Professor in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division at OHSU. Her current research focuses on how maternal body composition regulates placental function and fetal growth.

October 27 – “Early Influences of Maternal Nutrition and Obesity on Offspring Mental Health”Elinor Sullivan, PhD
What is the impact of maternal diet and metabolic state on future generations? Research conducted in the Sullivan lab supports the hypothesis that maternal energy status and pre- and early- postnatal nutrition influence susceptibility to obesity and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorders.