Michael S. Kobor
Professor, UBC Department of Medical Genetics
Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics
Sunny Hill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development
Theme Lead “Healthy Starts” BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Senior Fellow Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Genes can be influenced by the environment, which means our lifestyle can impact the expression of our genes. Epigenetics is the field that studies the relationship between our environment and our genes.
“Epigenetics is a very important component for studying human health,” says Dr. Kobor. “There is increasing evidence that epigenetic modifications are altered in a variety of diseases, such as cancer, and neurodegenerative disease.”
The Kobor laboratory focuses on the environmental and biological factors that affect genome function and gene expression, with a particular focus on how DNA is packaged.
“There are two meters of DNA that need to fit inside a little cell, so it must be packaged very tightly,” explains Dr. Kobor.
Many different environmental factors affect the molecular machinery of the DNA packaging process. The Kobor lab is involved in collaborations looking at this relationship in fetal alcohol syndrome, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The laboratory is also working with psychologists and population health scientists to study the effects of socio-economic status on gene expression.
“This is a wonderful field,” says Dr. Kobor. “Not only do you do basic science, but you can also branch out and build truly interdisciplinary collaborations.”
Sunny Hill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development – 2016 – present
Theme Lead “Healthy Starts” BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute – 2015 – present
Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Social Epigenetics – 2014 – present
Senior Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) – 2013 to present
UBC Faculty of Medicine, Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Basic Science Research – 2012
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career UBC Scholar – 2012
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award – 2005
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Scholar Award – 2006