Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering primary faculty
Andrew P. Feinberg, MD, MPH
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Director, Center for Epigenetics
King Fahd Professor of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Mental Health, Oncology, Biostatistics, Molecular Biology & Genetics, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Office: Rangos 570
Lab: Center for Epigenetics
MPH, Johns Hopkins, 1981
MD, Johns Hopkins, 1976
BA, Johns Hopkins, 1973
Our laboratory is studying how genetics and the environment conspire to cause diseases, including cancer, aging, and neuropsychiatric illness. Early work from our group involved the discovery of altered DNA methylation in cancer, as well as common epigenetic (methylation and imprinting) variants in the population that may be responsible for a significant population-attributable risk of cancer. Over the last few years, our laboratory has pioneered the field of epigenomics, i.e. epigenetics at a genome-scale level, founding the first NIH-supported epigenome center in the country, and developing many novel tools for molecular and statistical analysis, and applying them to stem cell biology, cancer, metabolic disease, and neuropsychiatric disease. We are also studying changes between identical twins in space, comparing samples from Scott Kelly in the International Space Station to his identical twin Mark on Earth, to assess longitudinal changes in these very different environments.
We are also pursuing a novel model of genetically driven stochastic epigenetic plasticity in evolution and development, which may help to explain Lamarckian-like inheritance, reconciling epigenetics with Darwinism. Using the honeybee as a model to test these ideas, we has uncovered the first evidence for methylation-mediated reversible behavior in a whole organism. This same model has led to the recent discovery of genetic variants increasing methylation variability in autoimmune disease, which helps to explain the relationship between genetics, epigenetics, the environment and disease. Finally, cancer appears to be driven in large measure by epigenetic plasticity. We have been developing mathematical predictive tools for the epigenome and are applying them to human diseases such as cancer, in order to develop new diagnostic methods and treatments.
Hansen, KD Timp W, Corrada Bravo H, Sabunciyan S, Langmead B, McDonald OG, Wen B, Wu H, Liu Y, Diep D, Briem E, Zhang K, Irizarry RA, Feinberg AP. Increased variation in epigenetic domains across cancer types. Nature Genetics 43:768–775, 2011.
Herb B, Wolschin F, Aryee M, Langmead B, Amdam G, Feinberg AP. Reversible switching between epigenetic states in honeybee behavioral subcasts. Nature Neuroscience 15:1371–1373, 2012.
Liu Y, Aryee JM, Padyukov L, Fallin MD, Hesselberg E, Runarsson A, Reinius L, Acevedo N, Taub M, Ronninger M, Shchetynsky K, Scheynius A, Kere J, Alfredsson L, Klareskog L, Ekstrom TJ, Feinberg AP. Epigenome-wide association data implicates DNA methylation as an intermediary of genetic risk in rheumatoid arthritis. Nature Biotechnology 31:142–147, 2013.
Multhaup ML, Seldin MM, Jaffe AE, Lei X, Kirchner H, Mondal P, Li Y, Rodriguez V, Drong A, Hussain M, Lindgren C, McCarthy M, Näslund E, Zierath JR, Wong GW, Feinberg AP. Mouse-human experimental epigenetic analysis unmasks dietary targets and genetic liability for diabetic phenotypes. Cell Metabolism, 21:138–149, 2015.
Pujadas E, Feinberg AP. A role for regulated noise in the epigenetic landscape of development and disease. Cell, 148:1123–1131, 2012.
Timp W, Feinberg AP. Cancer as a dysregulated epigenome allowing cellular growth advantage at the expense of the host. Nature Reviews Cancer 13:497–510, 2013.