Lecture: Human Genetic Differences; Unravelling Which Ones Matter - 2016 Activity Series

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Lecture Theatre, National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9

The Institute of Biology of Ireland, as part of the 2016 Activity Series, invites its members, families, friends and the general public to attend this free lecture. In this lecture, Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott, Senior Lecturer in Genetics and Principal Investigator of the Nutritional Genomics Group at DCU, will narrate our journey and fascination with the human genome to date, describe some of the latest findings in functional and epigenetics and provide a glimpse of what the future might hold.

It's all in the genes, or so they say. The complete (almost) human genome sequence has been within our realm for over 13 years, and with the explosion in DNA sequencing technologies since then, we now have an in-depth catalogue of the genetic differences that exist between individuals.  Adding to this genetic complexity is the impact that environmental influences such as nutrition can have on our DNA (epigenetics), and the possibility of passing such DNA modifications onto the next generation. 

However, simply knowing the sequence of our own genome is not enough; the challenge is deciphering those differences that drive our characteristics, including disease susceptibility i.e., figuring out which genetic differences actually matter? While large-scale genomic projects are striving to address this question, genome gazing is not sufficient and ultimately more gene-focused experimental approaches are needed. The arrival of efficient genome-editing technologies is beginning to pave the way for such functional genetics approaches.  


About the presenter: 

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Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott

Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott joined the School of Biotechnology, Dublin City University as a Lecturer in Genetics in 2006 from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) where she was a Lecturer at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics (2005-2006) and a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Immunology and Biochemistry from 1999-2005. Anne completed her PhD thesis at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1999 and was awarded her PhD by TCD in 2000.  

She has previously held the positions of President of the Irish Society of Human Genetics, and Chairperson of DCU's B.Sc. degree in Genetics & Cell Biology. 

Anne is currently a Senior Lecturer in Genetics and Principal Investigator of the Nutritional Genomics Group at DCU. 


Research interests:

Dr. Anne Parle-McDermott’s research group focuses on understanding the importance of folate nutrition for human health. Folic acid supplementation/fortification has known benefits in the prevention of birth defects and other human diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, but the underlying mechanism of how it does this has not been fully elucidated.

Research at the Parle-McDermott laboratory aims to decipher the molecular mechanism of how folate plays such an important role in human health ranging from pregnancy to ageing using a combination of genetics, genomics, biochemistry and cell biology methodologies. This research will have relevance for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of common human disease, and providing an understanding of the functional relevance of human genetic variation.