Brain development is dynamic process that reflects complex interplay between genes and environments. The experiences occurring during early life can have profound effects on brain development with long-term implications for behavior and mental health. How does the environment achieve such enduring effects? Dr. Champagne explores the molecular pathways through which early experiences shape the activity of genes and the consequences of these effects for behavior. These “epigenetic” pathways are a fundamental link between genes and environments that may account for both risk and resilience to the effects of early life adversity and the “inheritance” of environmental effects on the brain.
Frances Champagne, PhD is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University, a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), and a Sackler Scientist within the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. Dr. Champagne’s research integrates molecular, neurobiological and behavioral approaches toward an understanding of how a broad range of environmental exposures can lead to long-term biological and behavioral outcomes. In particular, her work is examining the epigenetic origins of variation in mental health and the transmission of these epigenetic effects across generations.
This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.