Epigenetic Medicine Award. Photo: Brock Bradford
It’s unlikely that there was a conventional thinker in the hotel ballroom when the first annual Epigenetic Medicine Award was presented in Los Angeles on Thursday night . Leading edge scientists, psychologists and other health professionals gathered as a pioneering researcher, as well as a new branch of science, were honored in a groundbreaking event.
While the current medical/science model is entrenched in Newtonian physics, and is based on matter, to the exclusion of invisible forces, Epigenetics has emerged as a quantum science.
Genome Research Cover. Fiber art by Nancy Jirtle
According to Soul Medicine Institute (SMI), “Epigenetics is the new science describing influences that alter the expression of genes.” Epi- means above; so epigenetic means control of DNA from above or outside the gene. SMI notes that, “New research shows that consciousness (beliefs, feelings, prayer, energy, thought) may have epigenetic effects.”
Dawson Church, Ph.D. notes that, “the picture ingrained in the public mind (is) that genes determine everything from our physical characteristics to our behavior. Even many scientists still speak from the assumption that our genes form an immutable blueprint that our cells must forever follow. ” However, the new science of epigenetics tells us that “genes are merely blueprints, and it is the environment … that determines genetic expression,” according to cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.
Dr. Dawson Church and Dr. Bruce Lipton at the reception. Photo: Brock Branson
One of the keynote speakers at the awards event, Lipton’s topic, The Biological Musings of a Free Radical, was peppered with humor, as he passionately shared a complex subject with the eager audience. Lipton’s pioneering stem cell research began in the late 60s. His research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, between 1987 and 1992, revealed that the environment, operating through the membrane (of the cell), controlled the behavior and physiology of the cell, turning genes on and off.
Lipton’s discoveries, which ran counter to the established scientific view that life is controlled by the genes, presaged the new science of Epigenetics.
Dr. Randy Jirtle
The historic, first Epigenetic Medicine Award went to Randy Jirtle, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Epigenetics and Imprinting at Duke University. Dr. Jirtle is a professor of radiation oncology at the school's medical center. His witty presentation cited his groundbreaking research with agouti mice, which proved that a mother's diet during pregnancy can influence gene expression in her offspring by altering the epigenome.
In the photo, the two agouti mice are genetically identical. However, the blond mouse is obese and predisposed to diabetes and cancer. The brown mouse is the healthy result of a change in the mother’s diet. The groundbreaking findings showed that a diet that has been nutritionally enhanced can result in changes in genetic expression of offspring, as explained in a 2006 Discover magazine article about Jirtle’s research, which was aptly titled, DNA is Not Destiny: The New Science of Epigenetics Rewrites the Rules of Disease, Heredity and Identity.
Donna Eden and Dr. Randy Jirtle chat. Photo: Brock Bradford
Jirtle gratefully accepted the award for himself and the Duke University lab, and also expressed his appreciation for the recognition of the fledgling science of Epigenetics.