DNA is Not Destiny: How Nurturing Regulates Heredity

A Lecture by: Katherine L. Knight, Ph.D. - Friday, November 2, 2007

The age-old debate, nature vs. nurture, has never been resolved. How much of human development is due to heredity (nature), and how much is due to environment (nurture)? Exciting new research shows that our DNA (nature) does not function autonomously, but instead it needs instructions to know when and where to be active. Some of these instructions are provided by environmental factors such as nutrition and caregiving. In this lecture, we will explore how the environment of early childhood can provide instructions to our DNA leading to altered traits that can be passed on to the next generation.

Dr. Knight is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and has taught immunology and genetics to medical and graduate students for more than twenty-five years. She has more than one hundred publications and has held research grants from the National Institutes of Health for more than thirty years. She has served as President of the American Association of Immunologists, an organization of over six thousand immunologists in the United States. She has also served on multiple advisory groups for the National Institutes of Health and has served on multiple editorial boards of journals in her field. She has lectured both nationally and internationally on the topic to be covered in this presentation.