Our DNA and genes are an inherited instruction manual for the production of proteins and building blocks in our cells. Alongside our DNA, a set of signal operators work tirelessly to synchronize the pages of instructions to be read, much like a train signaller coordinates the multiple routes across a single railroad track. These signallers are known collectively as ‘epigenetics’. More than ever, this fine level of control can be tuned during our early development, when body plans are being set, and our cells and genes are especially receptive to change. Our epigenetic profile summarizes the environmental cues we experienced as a foetus, then adjusts and prepares us for life outside by optimizing our body’s metabolism, cognition and other processes. Here in the GDM program, we’d like to find out if these epigenetic profiles are indeed different between “regular” people and those who now face health challenges like obesity and diabetes. Our team of researchers and collaborators are conducting studies spanning the bench to the bedside to understand how nutrition and other lifestyle factors impact our present cognition and behaviour, as well as our risk of chronic and metabolic diseases as we age.