Biochemistry students attend genetics conference

Posted November 08, 2010

ACU strives to be the leader in Christian education and give its students the opportunities to succeed. In keeping with these efforts, two students from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry were able to attend the “Behavioral Epigenetics” conference at the University Massachusetts Boston Campus Center in Boston, Mass., Oct. 29-30.

BiochemistryBlaine Smith, junior from Keller, Texas, and Evan Jones, junior from Canyon, Texas, attended the conference to gather information for a research paper they are jointly writing on behavioral epignetics and pastoral care.    

“The conference was a great experience for both of us, not only to gain exposure to the format of an academic conference, but to make great contacts with some of the leading researchers in the field and to gain a deeper of understanding of this science,” says Smith.  

The conference’s purpose was to share the latest developments in behavioral epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors can silence or activate a gene without altering its genetic code. This function is typically accomplished through the DNA methylation or acetylation.

The students’ paper will be submitted for consideration to be presented at the upcoming Christian Scholars Conferences at Pepperdine University in June 2011. Smith and Jones were able to attend the conference through the generosity of ACU’s Body & Soul program, Honors College and University Marketing.

In behavioral epigenetics, the theory is that DNA methylation or acetylation can occur due to a multiplicity of environmental stimuli, with the end result being a change in behavior for the organism in question.

The conference was presented by The New York Academy of Sciences, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and The University of Massachusetts Boston.

For more information about the conference, visit the New York Academy of Sciences website.