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Medtech Impact on Wellness

Yael David utilizes chemistry and biology in her approach to understanding the impact of environmental factors on epigenetic structures and mechanism and how they in turn affect our DNA.

In this podcast, she explains

  • Multiple layers of epigenetic effects on genes from high to low resolution,
  • The different approaches in understanding what determines epigenetics, including her own stance that environmental factors are key, and
  • How epigenetics in humans relates to cancer, including how damaged chromatin can drive cancer and enzymatic processes can rewrite those damages and protect chromatin.

Yael Davids is lab head and assistant member in the Yael David Lab in the Chemical Biology Program at Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center.

She is also an assistant professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

  She explores multiple questions of how epigenetic regulation of transcription functions alongside histone packaging and DNA and various determinates.

She explains different schools of scientific thought in what effects the epigenetics of humans along with her own understanding that environmental cues effect and determine epigenetics. She describes how the environmental model explains things such as disease initiation like diabetes, which isn’t explained in other models.

In this conversation, she discusses how epigenetics change gene function from the changes in DNA itself from protein recruitment to histones, structures that help compact the DNA. She tells listeners how histones, which had been viewed as only structural, also contain messaging that recruit proteins.

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She then describes modification systems that combine for a gradient mechanism, ultimately more of a dial than an on/off switch.

Dr. David also discusses her research, from developing better chemical tools for study to researching how damaged chromatin can drive cancer and how certain enzymatic mechanisms can rewrite this damage, a study that works towards therapeutic development.

For more, see her lab web page at and follow her on Twitter: @David_Lab_MSK.

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