Epigenetic Approaches to Understanding Stress and Trauma in Humans

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Lifetime experiences are known to be important determinants of mental health and illness, but the biological mechanisms through which social exposures become physiologically and psychologically manifest remain poorly understood. Epigenetic modifications provide a plausible and, increasingly, empirically supported molecular mechanism that can account, in part, for how stressful and traumatic experiences become biologically embedded to influence subsequent mental and physical health. The goal of this presentation is to provide an overview of how stressful and traumatic events, experienced throughout the lifecourse, have biological consequences at the molecular level with implications for subsequent mental health. The objectives are to: (i) illustrate how both molecular and environmental variation shape risk of stress-related mental illness (ii) define DNA methylation and show how it can translate social experiences into markers of risk for, or resilience to, mental illness; and (iii) provide evidence that adverse early life experiences impact stress- relevant molecular phenotypes into adulthood.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jasmine Martin
  • Created:01/09/2018
  • Modified By:Jasmine Martin
  • Modified:01/09/2018