Bradley E. Bernstein

Bradley E. Bernstein is a senior associate member of the Broad Institute and a professor in the Department of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is also an Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He co-directs the Epigenomics Program at the Broad Institute, and serves as a principal investigator in the Broad’s Klarman Cell Observatory.

Bernstein’s research focuses on epigenetics — changes in gene activity governed by influences outside the genes themselves — and specifically how modifications to the protein scaffold called chromatin contribute to mammalian development and human cancer. Bernstein’s laboratory is characterizing epigenetic mechanisms that underlie stem cells’ ability to give rise to almost any kind of cell, while also exploring how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to malignant transformation and therapeutic resistance. His work is notable for the discovery of epigenetic mechanisms in pluripotent stem cells, the systematic identification of enhancer ‘switches’ in the human genome that coincide with DNA sequence variants associated with common diseases, and the characterization of regulatory circuits that underlie certain forms of cancer.

Bernstein oversees two major NIH projects at the Broad Institute. These include the NHGRI-sponsored ENCODE project, which seeks to catalog all of the working parts of the genome, and the Epigenomics Project, which produces reference epigenomes for human tissues and stem cells. This work benefits from an outstanding team of production-oriented scientists in the Epigenomics Program and extensive collaborations with the sequencing center, computational scientists, and disease researchers at the Broad Institute.

After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D., Bernstein completed a residency in clinical pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He carried out postdoctoral research at Harvard University with Stuart Schreiber and also collaborated extensively with Eric Lander. He joined the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2005.

Bernstein’s honors and awards include a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Physicians, a Young Investigator Award from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians, a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a junior faculty award from the Culpeper Foundation, a Howard Goodman fellowship, and the Martin Prize in Basic Research from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Bernstein received his B.S. from Yale University in physics and his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Last updated date: October 2013