Epigenomics and Health Disparities Symposium


Monday, October 2, 2017, 12:30pm to 6:00pm


Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115

Harvard Catalyst

October 2, 2017

How Disadvantage Gets “Under the Skin”: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on Using Epigenomic Methods to Better Understand and Address Health Disparities

A forum of the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

Health disparities in the U.S. are produced not only through unequal treatment within the healthcare system, but also through systematic disadvantage, inequality, and disproportionate exposures to toxic physical and social environments, all of which often lead to increased risk of many diseases—including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness, among others. Recent advances in environmental epigenomics have allowed researchers to gain tremendous insights into several mechanisms through which gene function and regulation are sensitive to influence from diverse socio-economic factors and physical environments. Epigenomics as a field may offer valuable insights into the actual biological mechanisms through which health disparities are established and perpetuated. This potential, however, has not been rigorously explored.

Aimed at further exploring some of these critical issues, this symposium will bring together leading national and international experts in epigenetics, genetics, health disparities, medicine, epidemiology, anthropology, and environmental health sciences to explore and discuss emerging methods in epigenomics research and how these might be most creatively applied to advance the goal of reducing health disparities and improving population health. Sponsored by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program, this symposium will include interdisciplinary panels covering: (1) novel and emerging techniques and methods in epigenomics and gene-environment research; (2) emerging research on the associations of psychosocial and environmental stressors with epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation; and (3) perspectives from fields outside of epigenomics on how advances in epigenomics research can be best used to address persistent health disparities.

This effort is expected to generate new interdisciplinary relationships, collaborations, shared resources, pilot grants, and larger grants in the future. Specifically, this symposium will disseminate information and promote new collaborations intended to make possible the development of groundbreaking research and advances at the intersection of health disparities research and epigenomics research.


Please register today to secure your spot.

For more information, please contact Austin Argentieri at 617.724.1044 or aargentieri@mgh.harvard.edu.