Karissa Sanbonmatsu | TEDxABQ
Social interactions alter DNA (‘epigenetics’). Revealing how her own gender transition led her down the path of epigenetics, Scientist Karissa Sanbonmatsu takes us on a journey to DNA rave parties and the science of love. Following Laverne Cox, Geena Rocero and Janet Mock, Dr. Sanbonmatsu comes out as a transgendered woman in her talk. She argues that long RNA molecules (DNA’s molecular cousins) may unlock the secrets of epigenetics and someday help with autism, addiction and Alzheimers’.
Dr. Sanbonmatsu is a principal investigator at Los Alamos National Laboratory (www.t6.lanl.gov/kys). After studying electromagnetic turbulence above the aurora borealis, Dr. Sanbonmatsu shifted to bioscience, investigating the molecular machine that implements the genetic code. Two years ago, her team mapped a long gender-related RNA molecule that might be involved in reprogramming DNA. With increasing evidence that DNA can be permanently altered by the environment of the womb and by social interactions after birth, Dr. Sanbonmatsu is unlocking secrets of RNA molecules that may control these processes.