Moshe Szyf, PhD, Founder


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Moshe Szyf HKG Epitherapeutics
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A leading-edge force in the emerging science of Epigenetics

With a Ph.D. from the renowned Hebrew University, a postdoctoral fellowship in Genetics at Harvard Medical School, a distinguished Professorship at McGill University, and a Chair in Pharmacology at GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Szyf stands as an influential powerhouse in the field.

McGill University, ranking #1 among medical-doctoral universities in Canada, serves as the prestigious institution that fosters Dr. Szyf’s remarkable achievements. He shares esteemed company with the likes of Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Chaim Weizman, who were part of the Hebrew University’s inaugural Board of Governors.

Moshe Szyf’s reputation extends far beyond the company he keeps. He is widely recognized for his groundbreaking research spanning over three decades, which has revolutionized the fields of genetics and early cancer detection. Notably, he presented the first compelling evidence that challenges the long-held notion of fixed genetic makeup at birth. Szyf’s profound insights reveal that our genetic code can be dynamically altered through a biochemical process known as DNA Methylation.

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DNA is not just a static, written script. DNA is a dynamic movie, running as our experiences are being written.

These changes, passed from one generation to the next, are influenced by our experiences, environment and lifestyle behaviours; they have the power to change our basic biology. 

​Along with his lifelong commitment to uncovering hypotheses and then making them work, Szyf still carves out the time to share his groundbreaking innovations by contributing to the widely-popular, highly-respected TED talks which are viewed 1.5 million times a day.

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Szyf has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, playing a pivotal role in advancing the field of epigenetics. He founded and served as the inaugural chief editor of the foremost journal in epigenetics. He’s also an associate editor for Clinical Epigenetics and holds a position on the Editorial Board of Environmental Epigenetics.

For Dr. Moshe Szyf, Epigenetics and DNA methylation leads to his ultimate mission:

“To translate our understanding of Epigenetics into new products for early detection of disease. The true horizons of medicine lie in predicting and eliminating disease before it consumes us.”

With upcoming products in early cancer detection and battling addiction,
Dr. Szyf says:

Success for our products means not only helping people avoid disease, but guiding lifestyle changes that may prevent the disease and enhance their youth and well being.

McGill University Montreal
Photo Credit: Claudio Calligaris

Dr. Szyf is also the founding co-director of the Sackler Institute for Epigenetics and Psychobiology at McGill, professor of pharmacology and therapeutics at the McGill University, founder of both Epiterapia and the research lab HKG Epitherapeutics.

Epigenetics is the study of changes to your genes that don’t change the underlying DNA. McGill University professor Dr. Moshe Szyf is a pioneering geneticist in this field. His groundbreaking experiments show that social factors, such as maternal care, do change the offspring’s ability to adapt to stress and handle anxiety. In other words, these genetic changes happen regardless of who the biological mother is.

Szyf likens DNA and epigenetics to a computer:  Think of DNA as the hardware and epigenetics the apps. Using this analogy, he tells Full Frame, “The mother is actually writing codes in our DNA that tell us what kind of life we’re going to anticipate.” 

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Moshe Szyf Epigenetcis
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These findings point to the possibility of identifying epigenetic changes that lead to disease.  If researchers can understand what went wrong in the “code” that leads to disease, then they can also develop drugs or other therapies that can reverse those harmful genetic changes.

Szyf and his research team are now working on mapping the epigenetic changes when a person develops cancer. The hope is that by identifying cancer genetic markers, doctors will be able to detect the disease earlier and perhaps even before the disease develops.

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