Episode 40 - Epigenetics with Fabien Delahaye

by Break Nutrition | Podcast

Show Notes


Fabien is @cuicuibyfabien on Twitter and works at The Center for Epigenomics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Raphael asks Fabien to reveal who is behind the brilliant @EpgntxEinstein Twitter account rectifying falsehoods spread about epigenetics. It’s professor John Greally! He’s Fabien’s mentor.

Raphael ask Fabien, if you are at a dinner party and you’re asked what your job is, what do you say? And if they then ask you “what is epigenetics?”, what do you say then?

Raphael asks Fabien how we should think of the term ‘memory’ when talking about cellular memory?

Raphael asks Fabien to describe how he views epigenetics with regards getting us from genotype to phenotype.

Raphael ask Fabien to comment on the modern conventional way of backtranslating epigenetics from epi+genetics

Raphael asks Fabien to give an example of what he considers an actual epigenetic example. He mentions the Agouti mouse with its fur changing color through an epigenetic mechanism.

Raphael asks Fabien if the concept of epigenetics affects discussions being had about the Selfish Gene model of evolution versus Multilevel Selection theory.

Raphael asks Fabien what geneticist’s look at inside a cell, and to define chromatin and what we use it for, in the hopes that it helps people picture how DNA is packaged and used to produce our grand old selves.

Raphael asks Fabien to explain why histones are and what does them being are ‘tagged’ (or modified) have to do with gene expression and epigenetics.

Raphael asks Fabien to explain why he works with computers a lot in addition to being in the lab handling cell cultures. Epigenetics is a data heavy profession!

Raphael ask Fabien about his research on the epigenomic responses to extreme fetal growth. Does it tell us anything about how women might want to eat or conduct a certain lifestyle?

Raphael and Fabien talk about the typical limitations of epigenetic data and how we might advise people to litmus test the reporting of an epigenetic study.

Raphael talks about the poor quality data pervasive to much epidemiological data research that’s overused in the field of nutrition. He asks Fabien if he has one such pet peeve in his field of epigenetics?

Raphael mentions the ketone (although technically not a ketone) D-beta-hydroxybutyrate and the fact that it’s a class 1 HDAC inhibitor, which pretty much ensures it’s always lumped in with epigenetic mechanisms when in fact ‘gene regulatory’ is a more appropriate default term (until proven otherwise).

Raphael asks Fabien how he handles research questions and how one might weigh up social utility vs mere curiosity? Is this a false dichotomy or is this indeed a consideration he has?

Raphael asks Fabien if he has a favorite scientific paper or something that impacted his scientific trajectory?

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