Michael Kobor

Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2021-04-01
The University of British Columbia
Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Research involves

Studying the relationship between our environment and genes to examine how early life experiences can influence health and behavior over a person’s lifespan.

Research relevance

This research will lead to a better understanding of the impact of early childhood environments on health, and help tackle complex and pressing population health research issues.

Research summary

Genes can be influenced by the environment. For example, early life experiences can trigger chemical reactions that, in turn, alter how our genes function or are expressed. Dr. Michael Kobor, Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, is exploring how childhood experiences can get “under the skin” to affect health and behaviour throughout a person’s life.

Kobor’s research links fundamental molecular biology with psychology, pediatrics and anthropology, to name just a few fields of study. He and his research team are using a newly created biological clock to measure children’s developmental maturity, and assessing the factors that associate with epigenetic tags on DNA and how they change over time. Their work will improve our understanding of how gene/environment interactions lead to lifelong inequities in health outcomes, and could lead to the development of interventions that support at-risk populations.