Keywords: Stress, Aging, Epigenetics
A particular focus of our lab is how epigenetic changes contribute to stress-related somatic and behavioral phenotypes. Epigenetic changes are a set of chemical modifications that influence how genes work without altering the genetic code itself. Because these changes can result from environmental exposures, the epigenome acts as a molecular interface that fine-tunes gene and cell function in response to life experiences. We examine how lasting epigenetic patterns result from stressful experiences, accrue throughout life, and can in turn shape health or disease trajectories. While we employ a life course perspective, we are especially interested in the upper end of the age spectrum and the role of stress epigenetics in aging-related disease. For more information, please visit https://www.med.unc.edu/psych/research/zannas-lab/.