A/Professor Jeff Craig

a.professor jeff craig 200x267_saliva research symposium brisbaneAssociate Professor Jeff Craig works in the Environmental and Genetic Epidemiology Research Group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and is an Honorary Associate Professor within the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne. He leads a team of researchers in the Early Life Epigenetics team.

He has established a number of longitudinal cohorts including the Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twins cohort. Associate Professor Craig is also an internationally recognised expert on twins and is Deputy Director of the Australian Twin Registry. His work focuses on epigenetic changes associated with early development and the link between environmental factors, development and disease, in particular cardiovascular disease and neurodevelopment.

He aims to apply this work to develop epigenetic biomarkers reflecting past environment and predicting future disease risk. He has 95 peer-reviewed publications including Nature Genetics, Molecular Cell, EMBO J, PNAS, J Cell Science & Genome Research.

Presentation Title:
Studies of buccal and saliva samples in a longitudinal twin birth cohort
The Peri/postnatal Epigenetic Twin Study (PETS) is a longitudinal cohort of 250 twin pairs in which pregnant mothers were recruited mid gestation. Our main aim is to investigate the early life determinants of epigenetic stage and risk for chronic disease. To date we have measured the epigenetic mark of DNA methylation in buccal cells from 15 twin pairs at birth and 18 months. We found that identical twins are frequently epigenetically discordant at birth and that within-pair differences can increase or decrease over time. We have also measured the epigenetic impact of a large number of gestational factors including IVF, gestational diabetes and physical attributes of the placenta. In current work we are using saliva collected from seven-year-olds by passive drool to characterise the within-pair relationships between microbiota and dental caries and we plan to investigate cross-talk between salivary microbiota, and metabolites and DNA methylation in buccal epithelium.