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: The Feinberg Lab
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. We have identified a key role of epigenetic stochasticity driving metastasis, allowing the tumor to select for traits that give it a growth advantage in a changing host environment. 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. Finally, we are exploiting novel genetically diverse mouse strains to understand how prenatal nutrition can drive stochastic variation and susceptibility to common diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and autism.
Feinberg AP. The Key Role of Epigenetics in Human Disease Prevention and Mitigation. N Engl J Med. 2018 Apr 5;378(14):1323-1334.
McDonald OG, Li X, Saunders T, Tryggvadottir R, Mentch SJ, Warmoes MO, Word AE, Carrer A, Salz TH, Natsume S, Stauffer KM, Makohon-Moore A, Zhong Y, Wu H, Wellen KE, Locasale JW, Iacobuzio-Donahue CA, Feinberg AP. Epigenomic reprogramming during pancreatic cancer progression links anabolic glucose metabolism to distant metastasis. Nat Genet. 2017 Mar;49(3):367-376.
Jenkinson G, Pujadas E, Goutsias J, Feinberg AP. Potential energy landscapes identify the information-theoretic nature of the epigenome. Nat Genet. 2017 May;49(5):719-729.
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.