EpiStressNet: A biosocial systems approach to understanding the epigenetic embedding of social stress responses.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Biomedical Science

Abstract

The social environments in which we live provide daily challenges that affect how we think and feel, influencing our behaviour and sense of well-being. However, it is far from clear exactly how these experiences affect us at a physical level. Recent research in biology has discovered molecules that are found in all of our cells, which interpret our experiences by switching genes on or off in particular cell types. These molecules, or "epigenetic" mechanisms, bind to DNA and control gene activity, which in turn change the functions of our cells, tissues and organs, and so affect what we think, feel and do. We are beginning to understand that these epigenetic mechanisms are modified by factors that also affect our health, and recent evidence indicates that social stress is one such factor. Societies in which there is a bigger gap between rich and poor, such as the UK, also have bigger, more stressful social and health inequalities. Good evidence suggests that the social stress caused by social inequality leads to ill-health and that this link may involve epigenetic mechanisms. This project aims to build a network of biological and social scientists to explore how social stress causes epigenetic changes which affect biology and behaviour. To address this problem, we will establish a team with wide-ranging expertise in investigating (a) the physical effects of stress on gene activity in the brain and the body, (b) the impacts of social inequality on health, and (c) how we think about the way our experiences get under our skin to shape behaviour and well-being. This team of social science, public health and biology researchers, will develop and carry out novel shared projects. We will hold discussion meetings to consider new biological and sociological ideas together, and share new discoveries that will help to explain how social stresses exert their effects on the brain and the rest of the body, and the roles of epigenetics in these processes. We will also meet with industrial, government and health service professionals, to consider the potential impacts of our research for their work, and engage with the general public more broadly to discuss the wider implications of this research for society.

Planned Impact

Social and Economic Benefits: the huge costs of inequality to good social relations, health, educational attainment and social mobility are well-known. It is less well-understood how best to develop solutions to these problems that will produce measurable, durable improvements. Understanding the biosocial mechanisms that mediate the effects of inequality will help to develop an evidence-base that will be useful in formulating solutions and monitoring their effectiveness. Better knowledge about how social stressors erode health and well-being through modification of epigenetic processes will offer opportunities to create a knowledge-base and toolkit for preventing, ameliorating and/or potentially reversing risks to health. Biotechnology companies with an interest in developing such technologies would directly benefit from the new knowledge produced by this project. The new knowledge would also then be useful to government agencies and health services to either reduce the prevalence of risk factors in the social environment or introduce new experiences that enrich social and environmental quality and offset existing risks. The activities and outputs of the network will therefore be of benefit to government agencies, health services, as well as news media, charities and civil society groups concerned with the adverse social impacts of economic inequality, and the search for social policies that could ameliorate the disadvantages conferred by deprivation. There is extensive evidence showing that gradients of inequality and their corrosive effects on societal and individual well-being are increasing. Better public understanding of the consequences of policy choices for social and health inequalities, together with an appreciation of the evidence base about how social causes produce social consequences via changes to biological processes, will benefit democratically-empowered citizenries wanting to understand the facts of inequality, debate the policy alternatives and collectively determine their future social directions. Thus, in addition to engaging with the types of organizations described above, it will be imperative to engage with the general public to disseminate new knowledge about the types of social stresses that epigenetically embed risks to ill-health, and debate the policy options for achieving behaviour change at the individual and societal levels that could alter the long-term risks of ill-health over the life-course.

Building new capacity for interdisciplinary biosocial research: the broad aim of the proposal is to understand the biological mechanisms through which the social stressors that are characteristic drivers of social inequality become biologically embedded and contribute to health inequalities. We will create an interdisciplinary network with strengths in the analysis of biological mechanisms using both model organisms and human population studies, together with social science expertise in instrumental, empirical evidence-based analysis, and strengths in conceptualization of social phenomena and consideration of their implications for public policy. The network will build capacity for biosocial systems analysis by integrating this wide range of specialist expertise, and involve ECRs in all activities to develop the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers. The research network will carry out small-scale pilot studies and hold interdisciplinary workshops, to test hypotheses and develop new interdisciplinary strategies for understanding how social stress responses become epigenetically embedded. Through facilitating the convergence of relevant biological and social science disciplines, the network will enhance UK capacity to develop a robust evidence-base for effective policy responses to social and health inequalities. We will promote the impact of the network's wide range of capabilities in these areas through a series of Impact Workshops and a programme of Public Engagement activities.

Publications

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Cunliffe VT (2016) Histone modifications in zebrafish development. in Methods in cell biology

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Cunliffe VT (2015) Experience-sensitive epigenetic mechanisms, developmental plasticity, and the biological embedding of chronic disease risk. in Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Systems biology and medicine

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Lehane DB (2018) Epigenetics and primary care. in The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners

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Vineis P (2017) Epigenetic memory in response to environmental stressors. in FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

 
Description 1. Development of the zebrafish as a model system for elucidating the epigenetic responses to neuroendocrine stress.
Dysregulation of the Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis is a characteristic feature of the pathophysiology of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which result from chronic or extreme exposures to psychosocial stressors. A zebrafish mutant lacking Glucocorticoid Receptor (GR) function exhibits profound behavioural and endocrine abnormalities caused by chronic, persistent HPA axis dysregulation. To identify the glucocorticoid-sensitive methylation signature within the brain methylome, we performed a comparative analysis of wild-type and GR mutant adult brain samples using Whole Genome Bisulfite Sequencing (WGBS). Of the 249 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) identified, one high-ranking DMR was located within fkbp5, a known negative feedback regulator and direct transcriptional target of GR, whose epigenomic dysregulation was previously implicated in human PTSD. This DMR is established during development and exhibits dynamic glucocorticoid-sensitive regulation across the lifecourse.
We also investigated the long-term social behaviour and endocrine consequences of maintaining a minority of wild-type fish alongside a majority of mutant fish exhibiting genetically determined aggressive behaviour towards shoalmates. The chronic exposure of wild-type fish to these aggressive conspecifics did not appreciably affect their social behaviour or endogenous cortisol levels, and consequently no epigenomic analysis of these fish was performed.

2. Evaluation of candidate human epigenomic targets of social stress in a human cohort with a steep gradient of social inequality.
DNA methylation in the vicinity of the human genes FKBP5 (a known GR target described above) and NR3C1 (encoding GR itself) was analysed in DNA samples taken from members of the West of Scotland Twenty-07 cohort with high or low Socio-Economic Positions (SEP), to assess whether SEP was associated with differential methylation of these known targets of HPA axis dysregulation. No robust associations were identified, but the preliminary findings suggest that further analysis of these genes in this cohort may be fruitful.

3. Establishment of a vibrant and growing interdisciplinary research network. The initial network comprised 16 researchers and over the period of the award three Research Meetings and one Impact Workshop were held, involving a total of over 60 participants.
In addition to reviewing pilot research progress, participants discussed many new project ideas, contributed innovative critical thinking, and communicated both enthusiasm and reservations about epigenetics research and its impacts. Recurring themes included (a) the validity and usefulness of applying knowledge of epigenetics to monitor social stress responses in humans, when basic biological understanding of mechanisms remains so limited and (b) the risks of epigenetics and other biomarker research leading to biomedical interpretations of social problems that could crowd out other forms of research, and also challenge the disciplinary practices and traditions of social work that have broad acceptance and have proven successful.

Non-specialist audience: we have identified regions of the genome whose activity in the zebrafish brain is regulated by the stress hormone cortisol. This activity has a molecular signature that seems to be sensitive to stress hormones throughout the life course. We think that these sequences are a "signature" of stress in the brain and that similar signatures may exist in humans, particularly people exposed to high levels of social and behavioural stress, and that these changes could affect their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Exploitation Route The zebrafish research has identified important, novel downstream mediators of glucocorticoid signalling. The PI is senior author of a manuscript describing the key results and will be PI on a grant application to BBSRC in 2019. Our research plans are to identify the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the integration of synaptic and neuroendocrine signalling and elucidate their impacts on brain development and behaviour. FKBP5 is a known drug target and our findings may also have applications in pharmaceutical research.
An enduring concern has been to consider how our zebrafish research might help to understand how chronic psychosocial stress affects human behaviour and engenders susceptibility to chronic illnesses. Further collaborations with EpiStressNet colleagues could investigate human orthologues of identified zebrafish genes. The PI intends to continue collaborating with Paul Martin and Sue White to critically engage with epigenetics. We will prioritise assessing the ethical and social policy implications that flow from distinct conceptual framings of epigenetics discourses. In particular, we will scrutinise the Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) agenda, and the interactions between epigenetics and other biomarker research with prevention science and its policy translations. A social science-led research grant application on this topic involving network members is planned for 2019.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/epistressnet/home
 
Description The EpiStressNet project was established to create an interdisciplinary network of biologists, epidemiologists and social scientists that could (a) collectively scrutinise the evidence relating to the roles of epigenetic mechanisms in the biological responses to social stressors, and (b) discuss the potential implications of the evidence from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. In parallel, a programme of pilot research was initiated to identify epigenetic signatures of endocrine stress in the brain of the zebrafish, an experimentally tractable model organism with stress-sensitive social behaviours. The pilot research aimed to provide a tangible focus for discussing experimental definitions of stress, the value of model organisms to this field, and the significance of mechanistic scientific analysis for social and health-related policymaking. Our strategy for achieving impacts beyond the academic community involved convening a series of meetings at intervals across the funding period, to bring together network members, other researchers with relevant interests in related disciplines, and representatives of charitable organisations, civil servants and policymakers, medical and health practitioners, for whom discoveries in epigenetics might potentially have significant impacts on their professional practice. Progress with the pilot research was reported at each meeting, alongside research talks from network members and invited speakers from a wide range of relevant disciplines including developmental biology, epidemiology, public health and social science. In addition to the EpiStressNet events, the Lead PI (VTC) participated in additional interdisciplinary meetings where non-academic stakeholders were present, to further maximise the reach of EpiStressNet ideas and results. These included participating in workshops or seminars funded or organised by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (December 2015), the EU LIFEPATH project (May 2016), the Born in Bradford project (May 2016), and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (April 2019). The EpiStressNet project was further integrated with a related research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (PI Professor Paul Martin, Co-Is Dr VT Cunliffe, Professor S White, Professor D Wastell) which undertook an ethnographic study to elucidate the spectrum of disciplinary orientations and interactions of epigenetics researchers. In June 2018, towards the end of the award, we held an Impact Workshop in Central London, which was attended by 30 participants, including representatives from a range of civil society organisations that included Age UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners, Aynsley-Green Consulting, The Lankelly Chase Foundation, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, ESRC and BBSRC. At this workshop, 6 presentations were given by guest speakers, rather than EpiStressNet members, to maximise further the opportunities for widening interactions beyond the original network: Professor Meena Kumari (University of Essex): Epigenetic ageing clocks in the Understanding Society project. Dr Oliver Robinson (Imperial College): Integrating metabolomic and epigenetic data in life course models of health and ageing. Dr Ruth Mueller (Technical University of Munich): Risks and responsibilities of epigenetic knowledge. Dr Cyrill Delpierre (University of Toulouse): Embodiment of allostatic load across the life course. Dr Michael Pluess (Queen Mary University of London): Molecular basis of resilience to traumatic experiences in Syrian refugee children. Professor Sue White and Professor Dave Wastell (Universities of Sheffield and Nottingham): Limits and unintended consequences of applying biomarker-based prevention science to detecting the physiological effects of social adversity. I was informed that as a result of attending our Impact Workshop, the Assistant Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (Dr Catherine Joynson) organised a follow-on "Bioethics in Focus" workshop, to which VTC was invited. A Policy Briefing note on epigenetics is now being drafted by the Nuffield Council. In the summer of 2019, VTC was interviewed by Dr Ruth Mueller (Technical University of Munich) in order to obtain his perspective on the challenges and prospects of deploying epigenetic approaches to address research questions in biosocial science, and to consider their potential implications. Conclusions from the Impact Workshop There is emerging evidence that epigenetic biomarkers can diverge significantly according to social position. Some of these measures, including a subset of epigenetic ageing clocks, exhibit disparities with chronological age, which is consistent with greater physiological weathering occurring in conditions of social adversity. However, the nature of the environmental exposures and life history events that underlie such differences, and their biological significance, remain poorly understood. For example, whilst there is evidence that specific exposures such as smoking can modify the epigenome, the roles of such epigenetic changes in the causal pathway from exposure to disease risk remain unclear. The pilot project funded by this award has produced clear-cut evidence that endocrine stress causes epigenetic changes in endocrine-responsive genes in the adult zebrafish brain, and whilst there is some evidence that similar impacts occur in the human brain, the significance of these changes for understanding how stress affects human behaviour has yet to be determined. Combining metabolomic and epigenomic biomarkers, to identify aspects of social adversity that might have causal impacts on health and wellbeing, could improve the prospect of detecting causal pathways. In our impact workshop, the possibility that such biomarkers could be predictive tools, if combined with other measurements of adversity, was discussed. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have attracted considerable interest as potential identifiers of at-risk individuals, that could enable targeted interventions and/or measures of their effectiveness to be developed. ACEs were discussed extensively in the Impact Workshop and the third research meeting. Concerns were voiced that a narrative in which epigenetic and other biomarkers are combined with ACEs to justify early intervention and prevention, could push this biosocial research into contested social, moral and political contexts that predate it. Advocates of such prevention science tend to favour targeted, individualised interventions, that can underplay the significance of moral debates that recognise the primary roles of poverty, social deprivation and other societal problems in the production and reproduction of poor health, wellbeing and life chances. If there was a conclusion to be drawn from this part of the discussion, which found broad support from researchers and non-academic participants alike, it would be that the science in this area must be mindful of and responsive to social, ethical and political critiques. Moreover, the framing of risks and responsibilities that might be revealed through epigenetic research, should acknowledge the primacy of socio-political contexts, individual rights and moral values. A core EpiStressNet member, Professor Sue White, gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in 2018 as part of the enquiry into "How do adverse childhood experiences impact later life?" Professor White's evidence was informed by a number of discussions that took place during network meetings. See: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/news-parliament-2017/evidence-based-early-years-intervention-first-evidence-17-191/ and: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/evidencebased-early-years-intervention/written/75249.html The choice of a simple model vertebrate such as the zebrafish for the pilot studies received a significant amount of critical scrutiny from social scientists interested in understanding social stress, who were sceptical about whether the social structure and function of a zebrafish shoal, and the behavioural, endocrine and epigenetic responses within individual fish could authentically recapitulate the salient features of social stress experienced by humans and their physiological responses. This interaction identified a rather intriguing distinction between the methodological predispositions of at least subsets of biologists and social scientists. Some of the biologists involved in the network placed primary emphasis on identifying the fundamental mechanisms underlying more complex, emergent properties (e.g. social behaviours), reducing the object of analysis to a minimal system with the key biological features of interest (e.g. a genetically and pharmacologically tractable model vertebrate with stress-inducing social behaviours). By contrast, some of the social scientists in the network emphasised the need to understand the lived experiences of sociality, the impacts of social adversity on psychological functions (emotionality, memory) and its human-specific features, rather than the core physiology. Identifying the common ground on which a biosocial research agenda can be established is a challenge; ongoing cross-disciplinary interactions will be required to sustain momentum, and there will be a continuing need to involve stakeholders from beyond academia in a cross-disciplinary setting, to ensure that the research problems under investigation reflect wider societal priorities.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description MRC DiMEN PhD studentship
Amount £84,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/N013840/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 03/2023
 
Description Medical Research Council Discovery Medicine North Doctoral Training Partnership
Amount £84,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/N013840/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 06/2020
 
Description EpiStressNet Final research meeting 22-23 March 2018, Sheffield UK. 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This was the final research meeting of the network, jointly co-organised with Professor Paul Martin (Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Shiels (University of Glasgow) to review progress of my group's pilot studies funded by the grant against the initial objectives and in addition to review the ongoing research of network members and invited speakers.
Collaborator Contribution Paul Martin and Paul Shiels, along wth many other network members, gave summaries of their current research. Professor Martin gave a talk that argued for reconciling where possible and agreeing to differ where necessary in the use of plastic terms such as "stress". Professor Martin's colleague Dr Bartlett gave an overview of some of the preliminary findings made in the Leverhulme-funded project on Epigenetics (where I am a co-Investigator), where an ethnographic study of the epigenetics research community has been carried out. Professor Shiels gave a short talk on some of the collaborative research he has undertaken with a member of my research group on epigenetic biomarker analysis in the West of Scotland 20-07 cohort.
Impact Meetings such as the ones described above, and research activities as described above.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet Glasgow mid-project Research Meeting 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I co-organised the mid-term research review and discussion meeting for the EpiStressNet network, held at the University of Glasgow and hosted by Professor Paul Shiels on 1 and 2 December 2016.
Collaborator Contribution A series of structured research discussion and presentations were delivered over the course of 2 days.
Impact Grant applications submitted: 1. Wellcome Trust Seed Award in Science. Principal Applicant:Dr David Lehane, University of Sheffield. Co-Applicant, Dr Vincent Cunliffe, University of Sheffield. Title:Linking the stress of migration to TB reactivation: feasibility of a combined psycho-social and molecular mechanism study within deprived and immigrant communities.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Beatson Institute for Cancer Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Faculty of Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department School of Public Health
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV)
Department Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation Sheffield Children's Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Leicester
Department School of Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description EpiStressNet research network - Kick-Off Meeting 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Principal Investigator on the grant that is funding the EpiStressNet network activities. A PDRA in my lab, Dr Helen Eachus, is carrying out some important pilot studies to validate come of the key concepts underpinning EpiStressNet. The Network Co-ordinator, John Paul Ashton, is also a member of my research team. I organised the inaugural Kick-Off meeting of the EpiStressNet research network, attended by members of my research team, including the Network Co-Ordinator, John Paul Ashton, who helped me to organise the meeting. The meeting was held in Sheffield on 3 March 2016. I will continue in this role for the duration of EpiStressNet's existence.
Collaborator Contribution Network members participated in the meeting by providing talks and contributing to discussions.
Impact The EpiStressNet inaugural research meeting was held on 3 March 2016, in Sheffield. I organised the meeting, which was attended by 20 researchers, most of whom are existing members of EpiStressNet, as well as a small number of invited speakers and other participants with relevant interests, whom I have recruited to the network since it was first established.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Workshop on the Health, Social and Policy Implications of Epigenetics. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact ESRC/BBSRC-funded Workshop on the Health, Social and Policy Implications of Epigenetics.
Held at the London Mathematical Society, De Morgan House, Russell Square, London.
Wednesday 6th June 2018.
Invited participants:Sir Al Aynsley-Green (Aynsley-Green Consulting)
Andrew Bartlett (University of Sheffield)
Jake Beech (Age UK, London)
Peter Border (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology London)
Vincent Cunliffe (University of Sheffield)
Cyrille Delpierre (University of Toulouse)
Rosalind Edwards (University of Southampton)
Joanne Goddard (ESRC)
Mark Hanson (University of Southampton)
Roger Jones (British Journal of General Practice)
Catherine Joynson (Nuffield Coucil on Bioethics) (Lankelly Chase)
Omar Khan (Runnymede Trust)
Meena Kumari (University of Essex)
David Lehane ((University of Sheffield)
Jan Macvarish (University of Kent)
Paul Martin (University of Sheffield)
Ruth Mueller (Technical University of Munich)
Michael Pluess (Queen Mary University of London)
Gwilym Pryce (University of Sheffield)
Oliver Robinson (Imperial College London)
Gillian Santorelli (Born In Bradford)
Paul Shiels (University of Glasgow)
Cathy Stancer (Lanbkelly Chase)
Dheemanth Subramanya (University of Sheffield)
David Townend (University of Maastricht)
Ilke Turkmendag (University of Newcastle)
Elizabeth Walton (University of Sheffield)
Dave Wastell (University of Nottingham)
Elizabeth Webb (Age UK, London)
Sue White (University of Sheffield)
Luke Williams (BBSRC)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018