Dr. Lucia Aronica has a PhD in epigenetics. Epigenetics literally means on top of your genes (or DNA). Epigenetic markers are a set of molecular tags put on top of your DNA to either turn genes on or turn genes off.
Dr. Aronica was born in Naples, Italy. She received her PhD from the University of Vienna, Austria and conducted postdoctoral research work at the University of Oxford, UK. As an epigenetic scientist, she researches the connections between diet, epigenetic changes and
human health. Lifestyle factors such as diet leave traces on our DNA as epigenetic marks. These in turn regulate gene activity by switching genes on and off - like a sort of switch for genes. Therefore, although we cannot change our genes, we can affect their activity through
our lifestyle choices, and epigenetics is what makes this possible.
At Stanford University, Dr. Aronica is studying how a type of epigenetic mark, called DNA methylation, changes in obese people during weight loss. In addition, she is evaluating whether these changes can predict the reversal of the metabolic consequences of obesity (increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels) during weight loss. This would enable one to know if a diet is actually successful and to monitor whether the metabolic status continues to improve even when the weight-loss reaches a plateau.
Dr. Aronica’s work can be found in the journals Cell, Genes and Development, Nucleic Acid Research and the EMBO Journal. She is also an award-winning science communicator and educator who uses creative forms of communication such as digital drawings to explain complex topics from the world of epigenetics and science.
She also works as a video producer for the podcast Goggles Optional, a weekly audio program where scientists from Stanford University provide their professional yet humorous takes from the world of science.
To keep her epigenetics in good shape, Lucia enjoys exercising regularly, spending time outdoors, and nourishing meaningful relationships with her community.
Here are some videos Dr. Aronica has made about Epigenetics:
At SOUL Food Salon, Dr. Aronica explained to us what epigenetics is and why it plays a critical role in our health and predisposition to disease. She also uncovered how our lifestyle habits, such as our diet, can trigger epigenetic changes thus affecting our health. Finally, she gave practical tips on how to boost our diet with epigenetically active nutrients for optimal health.
Download the presentation from this salon & previous ones HERE