Steve W. Cole, PhD, Professor, Hematology-Oncology; Member, JCCC Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program Area, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles Website | Publications | Abstract & Bio
Abstract: Relationships between genes and human behavior have historically been viewed as a one-way street, with genes in control. Recent analyses have challenged this view by discovering broad alterations in the expression of human genes as a function of differing socio-environmental conditions. This overview will summarize the developing field of social genomics, and its efforts to identify the types of genes subject to social regulation, the biological signaling pathways mediating those effects, and the genetic polymorphisms that modulate their individual influence. This approach provides a concrete molecular perspective on how external cultural and social processes can interact with our genes to shape individual trajectories of health, development, and behavior. It also provides a provocative set of building blocks for understanding the co-evolution of human genes and culture.
Bio: Steve Cole is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the UCLA School of Medicine. His research analyzes the molecular pathways by which the social environment influences the activity of human, viral, and tumor genomes. His studies use computational modeling to integrate data from epidemiologic studies, natural history analyses, laboratory animal models, and molecular and biochemical studies to identify the physiologic signaling pathways that allow social environments to influence health-related molecular processes such as inflammation, viral replication (HIV-1, HHV-8), and tumor metastasis. Dr. Cole has pioneered the use of functional genomics approaches in social and behavioral research, and he provides strategic consulting in this area to the Institute of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Aging, the Santa Fe Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others. He also directs the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory. Dr. Cole is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Norman Cousins Center, and the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute.