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Changing Cells: Understanding Epigenetics
An Interview with Edith Heard

by Cristelle Terroni , 30 January 2015

What is epigenetics? In this interview Edith Heard explains the specificity of this relatively new discipline which studies the genetic expression of our cells and represents new hope in the field of cancer research.

Edith Heard is a researcher in epigenetics. After studying in Cambridge (UK), she completed her PhD degree in cancer research in 1990 at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratory in London. She then worked at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, from 1990 to 2000. Since 2012 she has been a Professor at the Collège de France, holding the Chair of Epigenetics and Cellular Memory. She is also the Director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology department at the Institut Curie in Paris, France.

In this interview with Books&Ideas, Edith Heard explains the origins and evolution of epigenetics, a relatively new discipline which appeared in the 1940s. She shows how epigenetics allows us to get a better understanding of the genetic evolution of our cells and how it may represent a source of hope in cancer research.

Edith Heard answers the following questions:

Question 1: What is epigenetics ?

Question 2: What underlies the cellular identity when all cellshave the same genetic material ?

Question 3: One of your major discoveries includes the dynamics of epigenetic changes on the X chromosome. Why is this discovery important?

Question 4 : What is the impact of epigenetics on cancer research ?

Shooting: Ariel Suhamy. Video Editing: Cristelle Terroni.

Dossier's Articles

by Cristelle Terroni, 30 January 2015

To quote this article :

Cristelle Terroni, « Changing Cells: Understanding Epigenetics. An Interview with Edith Heard », Books and Ideas , 30 January 2015. ISSN : 2105-3030. URL :

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