SotF 2016 – Amanda Drake – How the Environment in Early Life Shapes who We are

Tuesday 23 August 2016, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG

23rd Mandy Drake

Although the genes we inherit from our parents clearly play a large part in determining who we are, a growing number of studies have shown that the environment we experience in early life can have a profound influence on our health, including on the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders. In this talk Dr Drake will discuss the evidence for these early life effects and the potential mechanisms which might link experiences in early life with later health outcomes, including changes in chemical marks on genes – so called ‘epigenetic modifications’. Finally, she will discuss how such effects may be transmitted across generations, so that the experiences of our grandparents may also impact on our health today.

Dr Drake studied medicine at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then undertook initial training in Paediatrics in Bristol, before moving to Edinburgh to undertake a PhD funded by the British Heart Foundation. She then completed training in Paediatrics in Edinburgh, specialising in Paediatric Endocrinology and becoming a consultant in 2007. She heads a research group in the Centre for Cardiovascular Science, studying interactions between in the environment and the epigenome, with a focus on the early life environment, obesity and diabetes.

Find out more at or by following her on twitter @TeamDrakeUoE

Skeptics on the Fringe is proud to be part of PBH’s Free Fringe. Our talks are free and unticketed, so come early to the Free Fringe’s spoken word hub at the Banshee Labyrinth to be sure of a seat.

We have a different topic every day, bringing science, reason and critical thinking to the largest arts festival in the world.

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