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Epigenetics Conference

The Humanists of Greater Portland

would like to invite you to

The 2014 Humanist Freethought Epigenetics Conference

Saturday April 5th, 2014 at the Friendly House in NW Portland, Oregon
Registration Closed!  Please check back next year.


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One of the basic tenets of Humanism and other Freethought philosophies is to base one's decisions on science and rational thinking.  Dr Sardinia's presentation is in the field of Epigenetics, which is the study of how your everyday environment affects your genetic make-up.  Genetic changes do not take generations but can happen in days or months.  Even life in the womb can greatly be affected by the mother's environment.  Your general health, mental development and development of chronic diseases such as diabetes can be affected.  So understanding the new science of genes has many implications most of which we don't even yet know about.  Come and learn more about your genetic makeup and what you can do to possibly affect it.



08:30 AM Building Opens Check in and have a cup of coffee or tea
8:50 - 9:00 Dr. Del Allen Opening welcome and introduction of the featured speaker
9:00 - 9:50 Dr. Lisa Sardinia Epigenetics 101: Why Grandmothers are Important
Epigenetic alterations to the DNA are not mutations, but can influence the expression of the altered genes. These changes were believed to occur only during fetal development, but it has become clear that these changes can occur (and accumulate!) throughout life and, amazingly, can be inherited by subsequent generations.
9:50 - 10:00 Break  
10:00 - 10:50 Dr. Mitchell Turker The role of epigenetic mechanisms in normal & abnormal processes
Dr Turker's presentation will consist of two parts:
  1) How epigenetic mechanisms control our sleep cycles,
  2) How disruption of epigenetic mechanisms cause cancer and other diseases.
10:50 - 11:00 Break  
11:00 - 11:50 Dr. Lisa Sardinia Combating Cancer with Epigenetic Therapies
Because epigenetic changes can alter gene expression, turning genes on or off, these changes could result in genes involved in cancer development to be expressed abnormally. Most current cancer therapies focus on killing cancer cells. New experimental drugs are directed at returning the expression of these genes to normal levels, essentially stopping cancer cells from growing without killing them.
11:50 - 1:00 Lunch Make your own sandwich from furnished ingredients along with fruit, veggies, nuts and drink.
1:00 - 1:50 Dr. Lisa Sardinia Behavioral Epigenetics: Adversity Takes a Toll
Non-human animal studies provide clear evidence that detrimental experiences (lack of nurturing, drug abuse) can cause life-long changes in gene expression through epigenetic modification. Although evidence for such effects in humans is scarce, there have been intriguing tidbits of research that suggest that various types of stress can lead to long-lasting effects on gene activity.
1:50 - 2:00 Break  
2:00 - 2:50 Dr. Bill Meulemans The Reemergence of Fundamentalism
A survey of the similarities in political/religious behavior of the right-wing around the world and in the US.
2:50 - 3:00 Break  
3:00 - 3:40 Jennifer Hancock
(via Skype)
The Power of Why
Why do we exist? Why do we do what we do?  Why organize Freethought and Humanist groups? What exactly do we hope to accomplish? And more importantly, WHY do we want to accomplish these things? The art of asking yourself questions is the key to learning how to think freely. It is also the key to developing successful strategies and outreach projects. This is why Freethought is considered an essential Humanist Life Skill. In this session, we will discuss why going Socratic on yourself will not only help you develop more effective outreach strategies, it will also help you explain to others WHY what you are doing matters.
3:40 - 4:00 Clean up & close down Clean up & close down
4:00 - 5:00 After hours Drive to and meet at one or more designated places for further discussion and pizza or other food as desired.  There will be one, two or three designated gathering places with maps and directions depending on how many want to have further discussions.


Find out more:

About the Speakers        Location