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Moshe Szyf, PhD

James McGill Professor & GlaxoSmithKline-CIHR Chair
Department of Pharmacology and Therapuetics
College of Medicine, McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Epigenetic Processes Embedding Early-life Stress in the Genome

Dr. Szyf is an international pioneer and leader in understanding basic epigenetic mechanisms and their broad implications in human behavior, health, and disease. Epigenetics refers to the study of altered gene expression that occurred without a change in DNA sequences. Three decades ago, Dr. Szyf’s lab proposed that DNA methylation is a prime therapeutic target in cancer and other diseases. The lab also postulated, and then provided, the first set of evidence that the “social environment” early in life can alter DNA methylation, launching the emerging field of “social epigenetics.” Dr. Szyf received his PhD in Biochemistry from Hebrew University Medical School (1985) under the mentorship of Dr. Aharon Razin and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 1989 he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Szyf currently holds a James McGill Professorship and is the GlaxoSmithKline-CIHR Chair in Pharmacology. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the founding co-director of the Sackler Institute for Epigenetics and Psychobiology. Dr. Szyf was the founder of the first “pharma company” to develop epigenetic pharmacology, “Methylgene Inc.,” and the first journal in epigenetics, “Epigenetics.”