Research

Epigenetic modifications of complex disease over the human life course

Increasingly, studies have shown that the quality of early life environment, both before and after birth, can affect an individual’s susceptibility to metabolic disease in later life.

Epigenetic regulation of gene function is one mechanism through which early life environmental factors could impact on long-term human health outcomes. DNA methylation is the most commonly studied epigenetic modification in humans and can change the activity of a DNA segment, thereby regulating gene expression and affecting disease risk.

Our current research focuses on DNA methylation changes in pregnancy and in adolescence to identify epigenetic markers that may be associated with increased risk for susceptibility to chronic diseases in later life. Epigenetic markers are potentially modifiable, therefore the goal of this research is to identify potential biomarkers for increased precision for public health intervention.

Collaborators

This research is a collaboration between researchers at The University of Western Australia WA, Curtin University, Telethon Kids Institute, The Raine Study, the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetic Consortium (PACE), and the European Union LifeCycle Project.

Funding

This research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Selected publications

  • Tintle, N., D. Fardo, M. de Andrade, S. Aslibekyan, J. Bailey, J. Lorenzo-Bermejo, R. Cantor, S. Ghosh, P. Melton, X. Wang, J. MacCluer and L. Almasy (2018). “Genetic Analysis Workshop 20: methods and strategies for the new frontiers of epigenetics and pharmacogenomics.” BMC Proceedings: in press. [pubmed]
  • Bridgeman, S. C., G. C. Ellison, P. E. Melton, P. Newsholme and C. D. S. Mamotte (2018). “Epigenetic effects of metformin: From molecular mechanisms to clinical implications.” Diabetes Obes Metab: epub. [pubmed]
  • Felix, J. F., B. R. Joubert, A. A. Baccarelli, G. C. Sharp, C. Almqvist, I. Annesi-Maesano, H. Arshad, N. Baiz, M. J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, K. M. Bakulski, E. B. Binder, L. Bouchard, C. V. Breton, B. Brunekreef, K. J. Brunst, E. G. Burchard, M. Bustamante, L. Chatzi, M. Cheng Munthe-Kaas, E. Corpeleijn, D. Czamara, D. Dabelea, G. Davey Smith, P. De Boever, L. Duijts, T. Dwyer, C. Eng, B. Eskenazi, T. M. Everson, F. Falahi, M. D. Fallin, S. Farchi, M. F. Fernandez, L. Gao, T. R. Gaunt, A. Ghantous, M. W. Gillman, S. Gonseth, V. Grote, O. Gruzieva, S. E. Haberg, Z. Herceg, M. F. Hivert, N. Holland, J. W. Holloway, C. Hoyo, D. Hu, R. C. Huang, K. Huen, M. R. Jarvelin, D. D. Jima, A. C. Just, M. R. Karagas, R. Karlsson, W. Karmaus, K. J. Kechris, J. Kere, M. Kogevinas, B. Koletzko, G. H. Koppelman, L. K. Kupers, C. Ladd-Acosta, J. Lahti, N. Lambrechts, S. A. S. Langie, R. T. Lie, A. H. Liu, M. C. Magnus, P. Magnus, R. L. Maguire, C. J. Marsit, W. McArdle, E. Melen, P. Melton, S. K. Murphy, T. S. Nawrot, L. Nistico, E. A. Nohr, B. Nordlund, W. Nystad, S. S. Oh, E. Oken, C. M. Page, P. Perron, G. Pershagen, C. Pizzi, M. Plusquin, K. Raikkonen, S. E. Reese, E. Reischl, L. Richiardi, S. Ring, R. P. Roy, P. Rzehak, G. Schoeters, D. A. Schwartz, S. Sebert, H. Snieder, T. I. A. Sorensen, A. P. Starling, J. Sunyer, J. A. Taylor, H. Tiemeier, V. Ullemar, M. Vafeiadi, M. H. Van Ijzendoorn, J. M. Vonk, A. Vriens, M. Vrijheid, P. Wang, J. L. Wiemels, A. J. Wilcox, R. J. Wright, C. J. Xu, Z. Xu, I. V. Yang, P. Yousefi, H. Zhang, W. Zhang, S. Zhao, G. Agha, C. L. Relton, V. W. V. Jaddoe and S. J. London (2018). “Cohort Profile: Pregnancy And Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) Consortium.” Int J Epidemiol 47(1): 22-23u. [pubmed]
  • Sharp, G. C., L. A. Salas, C. Monnereau, C. Allard, P. Yousefi, T. M. Everson, J. Bohlin, Xu, Z., , R.-C. Huang, S. E. Reese, C.-J. Xu, N. Baïz, C. Hoyo, G. Agha, R. Roy, J. W. Holloway, A. Ghantous, S. K. Merid, K. M. Bakulski, L. K. Küpers, H. Zhang, R. C. Richmond, C. M. Page, L. Duijts, R. T. Lie, P. E. Melton, J. M. Vonk, E. A. Nohr, C. Williams-DeVane, K. Huen, S. L. Rifas-Shiman, C. Ruiz-Arenas, S. Gonseth, F. I. Rezwan, Z. Herceg, S. Ekström, L. Croen, F. Falahi, P. Perron, M. R. Karagas, B. M. Quraishi, M. Suderman, M. C. Magnus, V. W. V. Jaddoe, J. A. Taylor, D. Anderson, S. Zhao, H. A. Smit, M. J. Josey, A. Bradman, A. A. Baccarelli, M. Bustamante, S. E. Håberg, G. Pershagen, I. Hertz-Picciotto, C. Newschaffer, E. Corpeleijn, L. Bouchard, D. A. Lawlor, R. L. Maguire, L. F. Barcellos, G. Davey Smith, B. Eskenazi, W. Karmaus, C. J. Marsit, M.-F. Hivert, H. Snieder, M. D. Fallin, E. Melén, M. C. Munthe-Kaas, H. Arshad, J. L. Wiemels, I. Annesi-Maesano, M. Vrijheid, E. Oken, N. Holland, S. K. Murphy, T. I. A. Sørensen, G. H. Koppelman, J. P. Newnham, A. J. Wilcox, W. Nystad, S. J. London, J. F. Felix and C. L. Relton (2017). “Maternal BMI at the start of pregnancy and offspring epigenome-wide DNA methylation: Findings from the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics (PACE) consortium.” Human Molecular Genetics 26(20): 4067-4085. [pubmed]
  • Lillycrop, K., R. Murray, C. Cheong, A. L. Teh, R. Clarke-Harris, S. Barton, P. Costello, E. Garratt, E. Cook, P. Titcombe, B. Shunmuganathan, S. J. Liew, Y.-C. Chua, X. Lin, Y. Wu, G. C. Burdge, C. Cooper, H. M. Inskip, N. Karnani, J. C. Hopkins, C. E. Childs, C. P. Chavez, P. C. Calder, F. Yap, Y. S. Lee, Y. S. Chong, P. E. Melton, L. Beilin, R.-C. Huang, P. D. Gluckman, N. Harvey, M. A. Hanson, J. D. Holbrook and K. M. Godfrey (2017). “ANRIL Promoter DNA Methylation: A Perinatal Marker for Later Adiposity.” EBioMedicine 19: 60-72. [pubmed]
  • McCarthy, N. S., P. E. Melton, G. Cadby, S. Yazar, M. Franchina, E. K. Moses, D. A. Mackey and A. W. Hewitt (2014). “Meta-analysis of human methylation data for evidence of sex-specific autosomal patterns.” BMC Genomics 15(1): 981. [pubmed]
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