Tuesday, March 4 | 9:25 - 10:40 AM
The intrauterine environment is a major contributor to normal physiological growth and development of an individual; however, disturbances at this critical time can affect the long-term health of the offspring.
Traditionally it has been widely accepted that our genes together with adult lifestyle factors determine our risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and obesity in later life. However, there is now substantial evidence that the pre- and early post-natal environment plays a key role in determining our susceptibility to such diseases in later life. Moreover the mechanism by which the environment can alter long-term disease risk may involve epigenetic processes.
Epigenetic processes play a central role in regulating tissue-specific gene expression and hence alterations in these processes can induce long-term changes in gene expression and metabolism which persist throughout the life course. This symposium will focus on how nutritional cues in early life can alter the epigenome, producing different phenotypes and altered disease susceptibilities.
Nico Rizzo, PhD
School of Public Health, Loma Linda University
Dr. Rizzo is an assistant professor completing a postdoctoral research fellowship with the AHS. He obtained a Masters of Science degree from the Justus Liebig Universität in Gießen, Germany and a PhD in Medicine from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. He was a recipient of the European Union Socrates/Erasmus Scholarship for studies conducted at Karolinska Institutet previous to his PhD studies. His doctoral research focused on the associations between physical activity, cardio respiratory fitness and metabolic risk factors. His work was done in collaboration with the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS) whose main aim is to study the nature, strength and interactions between personal, environmental and lifestyles influences on CVD risk in European children of differing age, sex, culture and ethnicity.