Research Expertise and Interest
biological basis of health disparities, developmental programming, stress, environment x gene interactions, animal models, biopsychosocial approach to health and well-being
Darlene Francis's research program explores how biological, psychological and social processes interact over a lifetime to influence health and vulnerability to disease. Her laboratory explores how these processes are causally related. The historic belief that information only flows in one direction, from the genome, is simply incorrect. The research demonstrates that genetically identical organisms can manifest dramatically different phenotypic profiles in response to different environmental and social conditions. The research is focused on exploring how social inequalities in health come to be. Francis optimistically focuses on identifying opportunities for intervention. This level of transdisciplinary research can only be conducted with multiple collaborations that span many disciplines (molecular epigenetics through to social epidemiology). In sum, her research explores how experience and social factors are transduced into biology.