The Alberta Epigenetics Network is a multidisciplinary consortium of researchers and practitioners investigating how epigenetics impacts their fields of study.

EPIGENETICS controls normal processes such as development, aging, and memory and it also has a pivotal role in many diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Your environment, the food you eat, and your lifestyle can affect your epigenome and as a result, your health and well-being.

Epigenetics is the study of the biological mechanisms that can switch genes on or off without altering the underlying DNA sequence. If a cell’s DNA is seen as its alphabet, epigenetics is the grammar that describes how the DNA is read. The epigenome comprises all of the epigenetic modifications regulating a cell’s gene expression. It is often referred to as the cell’s programing. Although all of the cells in an organism have an identical genome, each tissue type can have a different epigenome.

Broadly speaking, epigenetics is the science that studies how internal developmental and external environmental factors influence the structure and the function of the genome or any given gene. [infographic]

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The objectives of the network are to increase the scale and impact of the epigenetics research occurring in Alberta and to facilitate the application of epigenetics discoveries that will benefit Albertans.

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The functions of the network include:

  • Enhancing epigenetics knowledge and technology creation by facilitating the creation of new collaborations and enhancing existing collaborations.
  • Identifying and securing provincial funding for research projects and implementing mechanisms to improve grant success at national and international levels.
  • Promoting capacity building by enhancing access to funding, advancing and coordinating infrastructure planning, and supporting integrated pan-Albertan educational activities.
  • Accelerating the application of epigenetics knowledge and applications by creating communities of discovery and practice for end‐users and practitioners to apply new knowledge and technologies.
  • Communicating to the public and other stakeholders the importance and relevance of epigenetic research and the research conducted by the network’s members.

These functions will be accomplished by the Networks programs.

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