Associate Vice-President (Interdisciplinary Research)
Professor of Allergy and Respiratory Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Human Genetics and Genomic Medicine Southampton General Hospital, UK

Exploring the (epi)genome for the origins of allergy and asthma

Host: M. Baralle

Abstract: It has been recognized for centuries that allergic disease runs in families, implying a role for genetic factors in determining individual susceptibility. More recently, a range of evidence shows that many of these genetic factors, together with in utero environmental exposures, lead to the development of allergic disease through altered immune and organ development. Environmental exposures during pregnancy including diet, nutrient intake and toxin exposures can alter the epigenome and interact with inherited genetic and epigenetic risk factors to directly and indirectly influence organ development and immune programming. Understanding of these factors will be essential in identifying at-risk individuals and possible development of therapeutic interventions for the primary prevention of allergic disease. In this presentation I will summarise our work on understanding the complex interplay between genetic – epigenetic and environmental factors in determining susceptibility to allergic disease and asthma including genome-wide association, epigenome-wide association studies and studies of intergenerational effects of environmental exposures.

Biosketch: John Holloway is originally from New Zealand where he graduated from Otago University and undertook his PhD in the Malaghan Institute on the genetic basis of asthma. He is now Associate Vice President (Interdisciplinary Research) and Professor of Allergy and Respiratory Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK and his research program focuses on genetics, epigenetics and functional genomics of allergic and respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD. His current research includes exploring the mechanisms of prenatal programming of respiratory disease and epigenetic mechanisms underlying atopy and asthma susceptibility; gene-environment interactions in the early life origins of asthma and COPD; characterisation of genetic factors influencing asthma severity; and identification and validation of novel asthma susceptibility genes. Professor Holloway has published extensively in the field of allergy and respiratory genomics and details of his publications and research can be found here


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