David C. Page, M.D.Director, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
The differences between the sexes extend down to our cells. Biomedical research and medical teaching and practice, however, often overlook the ways male and female cells, tissues and organs differ.
In this lecture, David Page will discuss recent advances in his lab that provide a framework for studying sex differences at the molecular level. His lab conducted a five-species, twelve-tissue survey of sex differences in gene expression, creating the first comprehensive catalog of molecular-level differences between males and females across the body. The study included humans as well as four species used as models in basic, clinical, and pharmaceutical research. Page’s lab identified many genes that were sex-biased in their expression (i.e., expressed more abundantly in males than females, or vice versa) in a variety of tissues. Some of this sex-biased gene expression is conserved across mammalian species. Using this unprecedented dataset, they discovered a link between conserved sex-biased gene expression and a prominent phenotypic sex difference found in most mammalian species: an upward shift in the distribution of height or body size in males compared to females.