A large proportion of variation in disease risk cannot be explained by genetic factors. Moreover, while lifestyle factors impact greatly on disease risk, underlying mechanisms are often less evident. Epigenetic regulatory elements may provide some answers to the missing clues. The Michels Lab focuses on epigenetic epidemiology and epigenome-wide association studies. We are exploring factors that may affect the establishment of epigenetic code in utero predisposing the fetus to later life disease risk. Of particular relevance may be factors relevant for the one-carbon-metabolism, chemicals that disrupt the hormonal milieu, and conditions that compromise placental support of the fetus. The Michels Lab also studies the role of imprinting and DNA methylation in human cancer.