Investigator Profile

Murat Maga, PhD

Murat Maga is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a member of the Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Maga is investigating the role of environmental (epigenetic) programming in the presentation of alcohol-related malformations, specifically in the development of face and head. He is also researching how genomic differences correlate with these features to find epigenetically modified genes responsible for the differences.

“I find it rather surprising (and also quite alarming) to see how quickly the genetic programming for the normal development can be altered during pregnancy by the man-made environmental factors. And yet alcohol consumption during pregnancy remains a major issue and causes a significant emotional and financial burden on families and also on the society. I am currently studying how alcohol consumption prior and during pregnancy affects the normal craniofacial development in mice. In the future, this study will provide the mechanism(s) by which genes are modified through alcohol exposure and can be translated into clinical research. It will also offer the potential to find ways to better diagnose or even prevent or circumvent the negative effects of alcohol on fetal development.”