Applying Epigenetics to Environmental Health and Epidemiology

Epigenetics is a fast growing field – with increasing applications in environmental epidemiology – that focuses on mechanisms that can stably/heritably influence gene expression. This workshop will start with an introduction to the general concepts of epigenetics and the effects of environmental toxicants on the epigenome, as well as an exploration of transgenerational epigenetics. Led by a team of scientists with direct expertise in each of the aspects entailed in environmental epigenetics, the workshop will then focus on the design and conduction of environmental epidemiology studies featuring epigenetics. Specific topics will include concept ideation, sample collection and processing, laboratory methods and platforms for analysis, and data interpretation. Emphasis will be given to leveraging existing resources from ongoing studies and initiating new investigations. Ongoing epidemiology studies (cohort, case‐control, cross‐sectional, and repeated‐measure studies) will be presented to introduce epigenetic effects in prenatal/early and adult life of air pollution, metals, pesticides, benzene, PCBs, POPs, and smoking. Newly emerging topics in epigenetics and cutting-edge laboratory platforms will also be covered. The session will enable attendees to ascertain advantages and pitfalls of different designs in the conduction of epigenetic studies.

Data analysis will be further covered in the afternoon hands-on session “Epigenomic Data Lab”, which will enable attendees to learn and practice data handling and analysis of epigenome-wide DNA methylation data. Participants are warmly encouraged to register for both sessions for a full overview of concepts, techniques and data analysis methods in environmental epigenetics.


Presenters: Andrea Baccarelli, MD, MPH, PhD Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health,

Kasey Brennan, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Andres Cardenas, PhD Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Elena Colicino, PhD Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Allan Just, PhD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Jia Zhong, PhD Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University