5 minutes with Kevin Dudley
Position: Research Officer (Proteomics and Genomics), IFE Central Analytical Research Facility
What are you working on at the moment?
My work is in an area known as "epigenetics", which seeks to explain how the cells and tissues that make up an organism can display markedly different characteristics (ie. phenotypes) despite possessing identical underlying genetic information. The effect that exposure to specific environmental factors (e.g. stress, diet) on regulating the epigenome at critical stages of life is a particular interest of mine.
Why is your work important?
It is extremely important to gain an understanding of the mechanisms by which factors that confer epigenetic identity arise and are propagated. This knowledge will provide a foundation for the development of potentially beneficial approaches in areas spanning disease diagnosis and treatment, as well as novel methods for the production of energy and food.
What excites or inspires you about your field?
The latter half of the twentieth century was dominated by the study of genes and gene sequences, whereas the impact of the environment on organismal development was somewhat overlooked. I'm excited that our new appreciation for the role of the environment in the process of epigenetic regulation will hopefully stimulate efforts to sustain and protect the awe-inspiring natural world in which we live.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to contribute to the acquisition of knowledge in this important and expanding field.