Epigenetics at the Interface of Genes and the Environment: ACEs, Critical Risk Periods and the Identification of Biomarkers for Mental Illnesses

April 10, 2017

Registration for this event is now full! To be added to the wait list, please visit http://www.iowaaces360.org/webinars.html.


Webinar Overview

Mental illnesses are thought to result from the combined influence of genes and environment. While studies have identified critical risk periods for the development of mental illnesses, the biological bases for these diseases have remained elusive until recently. The field of epigenetics seeks to identify the biological markers that reflect the interaction of a persons genes and the environments they experience.


  • Discuss the evidence for these biological markers that can be influenced by environmental exposures such as ACEs.
  • Discuss the discovery of epigenetic biomarkers capable of predicting risk to future mental illnesses.

Target Audience

Healthcare professionals.


Zachary A. Kaminsky

Zachary A. Kaminsky, PhD
Assistant Professor/Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine/Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Kaminsky trained in one of the first labs studying epigenetics in psychiatry. He had investigated epigenetic influences on suicide, post partum depression and PTSD where he generated some of the first and most widely replicating epigenetic biomarkers in psychiatry. He is working on the development of disease predictive biomarkers. Dr. Kaminsky attempts to better understand the molecular epigenetic underpinnings of psychiatric conditions to enable the generation of “bench to bedside” translational findings.

Relevant Financial Disclosures with Commercial Interests

  • Listed as inventor on a patent to use SKA2 to predict suicidal behaviors
  • Listed as an inventor on a patent to use SKA2 to predict PTSD
  • Listed as an inventor on a patent for the prediction of postpartum depression using DNA methylation biomarkers
  • Consultant for Janssen Research and Development, LLC
  • Founder of METHYX LLC, a start-up company designed to develop mental health biomarkers


  • Bouchard, T.J., Jr, Lykken, D.T., McGue, M., Segal, N.L. and Tellegen, A. (1990) Sources of human psychological differences: the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Science, 250, 223–228
  • Wong, A.H., Gottesman, II and Petronis, A. Hum Mol Genet, 2005
  • Rachel Yehuda, Nikolaos P. Daskalakis, Linda M. Bierer, Heather N. Bader, Torsten Klengel, Florian Holsboer, Elisabeth B. Binder. Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation. Biological Psychiatry, 2015, Available online 12 August 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.005
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 1.25 AOA Category 2­A
  • 1.25 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 1.50 IBON
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
04/10/2017 - 1:00pm CDT
Event ends: 
04/10/2017 - 2:15pm CDT
United States

Continuing Education Credit

  • MD: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) through the joint providership of Des Moines University (DMU) and Central Iowa ACEs 360. DMU is accredited by IMS to provide continuing medical education for physicians. DMU designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 
  • DO: Des Moines University is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and approves this live activity for 1.5 AOA Category 2-A CME credit(s). 
  • Nurses: Des Moines University continuing education is Iowa Board of Nursing approved provider #112. This live activity has been reviewed and approved for 1.8 continuing education contact hours. No partial credit awarded.
  • Other: This live activity is designated for 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

The information provided at this CME activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The content of each presentation does not necessarily reflect the views of Des Moines University.

Educational Grants

No commercial interest provided financial support for this continuing education activity.

Available Credit

  • 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • 1.25 AOA Category 2­A
  • 1.25 CE Contact Hour(s)
  • 1.50 IBON


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