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The Sontag Foundation Bernstein

Bradley Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D.

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Sontag Scientific Advisor

Dr. 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.

Dr. Bernstein's laboratory is characterizing epigenetic mechanisms that underlie stem cells’ ability to give rise to almost any kind of cell, and exploring how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to malignant transformation and tumor progression. His work is notable for the discovery of bivalent domains that poise developmental genes for alternate fates in stem cells, for the systematic identification of enhancer “switches” in the human genome that control cell type-specific gene activity, and for the characterization of epigenetic aberrations that lead to cancer. Dr. Bernstein’s honors and awards include a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, election into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an Early Career Scientist award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Bernard and Mildred Kayden Endowed MGH Chair (2016-2021), an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an American Cancer Society Research Professorship, and the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research. He serves on numerous scientific advisory boards including the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the MD Anderson Cancer Center's Moon Shots Program. Dr. Bernstein is also on the Board of Reviewing Editors, Science, and serves on the Editorial Boards of Genome Research, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cell Research, Epigenetics & Chromatin, and Human Molecular Genetics.

Current Appointments

Chair, Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Institute Member, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Director of the Gene Regulation Observatory, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Director of the Epigenomics Program, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

Professor, Cell Biology and Pathology, Harvard Medical School


B.S., Yale University

M.D. and Ph.D., University of Washington School of Medicine