Department or Program
Additional Department or Program (if any)
Title of Approved Individual Major
Health and Society
Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor
Andrew C. Webb
Adam Van Arsdale
Epigenetics is an up and coming field that investigates heritable changes in gene expression that are a result of our environment and, in many cases, our lifestyle and culture. In an effort to look at the current obesity epidemic from multiple disciplines, this thesis encompassed both a biological and an anthropological study. The biological aim was to investigate a possible correlation between lifestyle and the expression of genes related to obesity. The anthropological aim was to investigate mechanisms of lifestyle change and social understandings of epigenetic phenomena. The project resulted in a refined protocol for future multi-disciplinary research into obesity epigenetics as well as suggestions for social means of reversing the obesity epidemic.