Dr. Nicholas Faribridge - February 13
Context matters: appreciating the complexity of sex-specific differences when
studying gene-environment interactions
Cells sense and respond to their environment. This simple concept drives a broad variety of studies from examining the function of cell surface receptors to following multi-generation epigenetic changes in response to nutritional
challenges. Of great interest, and at times great frustration, is understanding
how two seemingly identical cells can respond quite differently to the same
I will present case studies from my research where subtle changes to the genome, that we expected to be inconsequential to the system of study, resulted in pronounced changes to the experimental outcome. While each is an interesting study into the complexity of developmental regulation, together they highlight how the selection of a genetic background, animal strain, or cell lineage can change the results of a study in unexpected ways. My current focus is how drastically the subjects’ sex can change how we study gene-environment interactions once thought to be sex-insensitive.