Charles Dupras, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Genomics and Policy (CGP) at McGill University. He completed a master's degree in molecular biology at INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, then completed a doctoral degree in bioethics at the University of Montreal. He was recently awarded a three-year fellowship (2017-2020) by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), for pursuing his research on the translation of emerging knowledge in epigenetics.
Epigenetics is an emerging field of study focusing on the biological mechanisms responsible for regulating gene expression. Epigenetic modifications have been associated with physico-chemical (e.g., pollutants) and psychosocial (e.g., family context, social adversity) environments to which people are exposed during their development, and with the development of many diseases later in life. Charles is interested by the ethical, legal and social implications of epigenetics. He examines, among other things, the impact of epigenetics on nature vs nurture representations, and questions of environmental and social justice.
As part of his work at the CGP, Charles is exploring Canadian laws and public policies potentially applicable to – or to be amended to accommodate – recent findings about epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation. The main objective is to ensure that Canadian regulations, such as the recent Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (2017), or existing guidelines for the ethical conduct of genetic research (e.g., data sharing and protection of privacy), apply consistently and justifiably to epigenetic information.
Other ongoing projects include empirical studies of the ethical and social acceptability of implementing non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in Canada. Charles sits on the Executive Committee of the new Canadian Journal of Bioethics. He is also an active member of the Bioethics Workgroup of the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC).