The Interplay Between Epigenetics, Environment and Behavior in Male Fertility

Alan Horsager PhD
Lecture Type: 
Breakout Session
Lecture Day: 
Day 2
Segal Conference Room

Epigenetics refers to modifiable, but relatively stable, modifications on top of the DNA, which includes DNA methylation. There have been dozens of studies in sperm epigenetics reporting that abnormal sperm DNA methylation patterns associate with male infertility. Additionally, many studies have shown that abnormal DNA methylation does not just impact fertility potential but is associated with poor embryo development. These recent advancements in epigenetic research provides a significant opportunity for 1) broadly measuring fertility potential in men, and 2) assessing the likelihood of a male factor impacting the quality of embryo development.

Furthermore, several studies have shown factors such as age, environmental exposure, nutrition, body mass, and drug use can have measurable impact on this epigenetic code. It is certainly possible that these factors may lead to changes in the epigenome, which, in turn, may result in male infertility. 

Learning Objectives:

In this talk, you will learn about:

1) the mechanisms of action in epigenetics and why its important in biology

2) what we know about the relationship between epigenetics and male infertility

3) what environmental and behavioral factors contribute to changes in this epigenetic code.

Alan Horsager PhD

Alan Horsager is currently the President & CEO of Episona, a molecular diagnostics company focused inmen’s reproductive health. Most recently, he was a Founder and Chief Science Officer of Eos Neuroscience, a company that continues to engineer optogenetic gene therapies for blindness and chronic pain.  Prior to Eos and while at the University of Southern California, he worked closely with SecondSight Medical Products to produce the first ever treatment of neurological blindness, a medical device that is now approved by the FDA for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa.  Before joining USC, he was a Project Manager and Researcher at VivoMetrics, a medical device startup that developed a wearable ambulatory monitoring system that continuously collected cardiopulmonary data. Alan received his Psychology for the University of Washington and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University ofSouthern California where he currently is a visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. He has numerous scientific publications and issued patents, and has received several career awards including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund CASI award.

Integrative Fertility Symposium

Healthy Seminars 6th Integrative Fertility Symposium will be held exclusively online. The IFSymposium is geared towards Chinese medicine and naturopathic physicians who have an interest in treating reproductive health issues using an integrative approach. IFS 2021 date TBA

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Symposium Location

Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC