The Social Epigenetics Lab is part of the Department of Genetics within the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology.
Epigenetics is defined as the heritable change in expression of a gene without any change in the DNA sequence. Everything we do - diet, habitat, social interactions, even aging - causes chemical modifications on genes that will turn those genes on or off: epigenetic changes. Many diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's, show epigenetic changes between the normal or healthy state.
We research epigenetics in insects, mainly bumblebees and wasps. We do this both as a model of more complicated systems - like humans - and because of insects’ importance in our survival. For example, insect pollination services are worth 14.2 billion euros to Europe's economy.