May 28, 2002
MEDIA CONTACT: Joanna Downer
PHONE: 410-614-5105
E-MAIL: jdowner1@jhmi.edu

Researchers Studying Genetic Modifications In Disease Meet At NIH

The first conference on Epigenetic Mechanisms in Human Disease will be held next Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31, 2002, at the Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda. During this unprecedented meeting, researchers will share their experiences in studying how a range of epigenetic mechanisms -- changes to genes other than mutations in the gene's sequence -- influence a wide variety of human diseases, including cancer, birth defects and psychiatric conditions.

"A great deal of human disease and behavior is related not to changes in the sequences of DNA but rather to modifications on top of that sequence -- the epigenetics," says conference co-organizer Andrew Feinberg, Ph.D., a professor in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Hopkins. "Epigenetics is also crucial in understanding the basic biology of how cells differentiate, since every cell contains the same genetic information, and yet every cell is most certainly not the same."

The two-day conference is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Among the scheduled speakers are Hopkins researchers J. Raymond DePaulo, Victor Corces, Barbara Migeon and Feinberg. More than three dozen leading researchers from around the world also are scheduled to present. Information and registration to attend the conference can be found at: http://www.palladianpartners.com/epigenetics/

Reporters interested in attending all or part of the conference can contact Dr. Terry Moody at the National Institutes of Health at 301-451-9451 or moodyt@mail.nih.gov




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