Michael S. Kobor

Michael S. Kobor

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."


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

Kobor MS, Archambault J, Lester W, Holstege FC, Gileadi O, Jansma DB, Jennings EG, Kouyoumd- jian F, Davidson AR, Young RA, Greenblatt J. An unusual eukaryotic protein phosphatase required for transcription by RNA polymerase II and CTD dephosphorylation in S. cerevisiae. Molecular Cell. 1999 Jul;4(1):55–62.

Kobor MS, Venkatasubrahmanyam S, Meneghini MD, Gin JW, Jennings JL, Link AJ, Madhani HD, and Rine J. A Protein Complex Containing the Conserved Swi2/Snf2-Related ATPase Swr1p Deposits Histone Variant H2A.Z into Euchromatin. PLoS Biology. 2004 May; 2(5):E131.