UCL Cancer Institute


Cancer Institute Seminar Series - Prof David Rehkopf

06 February 2019, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Professor David Rehkopf

Professor David Rehkopf, Stanford University, presents: 'Approaches for examining the impact of early life exposures on later life disease.'

Event Information

Open to



Veronica Dominguez


Courtyard Cafe
UCL Cancer Institute 72 Huntley Street

Hosted by: Dr Simone Ecker

Dr Rehkopf has used quantitative methods from epidemiology, economics and demography, working within the subfields of social epidemiology and biodemography, to answer questions about the underlying biological pathways linking low income and working conditions to higher rates of chronic disease. Uncovering the biological mechanisms is important for understanding what types of interventions are most effective for breaking the links between damaging social environments and higher incidence of chronic disease. Dr Rehkopf has engaged in descriptive epidemiologic work that gives new insights into which specific risk factors are most associated with income, work that quantifies the importance of social aspects of the workplace for chronic disease risk, as well as work that has uncovered how geographic and family environment early in life can alter health later in life. This descriptive work has informed his examination of social policy impacts on health, including work on the largest anti-poverty program ($67 billion in 2015) for working families in the United States - the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This research has shown that EITC payments are associated with short term decreases in smoking and improvements in immune function, diet and cardiovascular biomarkers, as well as improvements in some child health indicators and reductions in the number of infants born low birthweight. In uncovering the biological mechanisms underlying these relationships Dr Rehkopf has examined the role of DNA methylation in social differentials of chronic disease risk in population based cohorts in the United States, Costa Rica and Denmark. I study differences in DNA methylation associated with a high longevity region in Costa Rica, as well as examine how early 20th century income and employment policies in the United States have long-term impacts on chronic disease risk through DNA methylation pathways.

A light lunch will be served after the seminar.

This seminar has been sponsored in part by the Biomedical Research Centre and Cancer Research UK. Main image: Professor David Rehkopf, credit Stanford University