Welcome to the Penn Epigenetics Institute


Drosophilia ovary with whole chromosome oligopaints

Eric Joyce Lab
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Budding enteroids (small intestinal organoids)

Arjun Lab & Andrea Stout
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Initiation of chromosome folding following mitosis

Gerd Blobel Lab
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Welcome from the Director

Shelley Berger, PhD

An epigenetic trait is defined as a stably heritable phenotype resulting from changes in a chromosome without alterations in the DNA sequence. At the Penn Epigenetics Institute, our group of talented faculty, trainees, and staff investigate all aspects of epigenetics – from its role in cancer, development and immunity to how it affects social structures and the way our brains function. Our goal is to advance basic and applied research in chromatin biology and epigenetics, building on current interest both in mechanisms underlying epigenetic regulation, and in unraveling genome-wide chromatin patterns.

The Institute was established in 2017 to bring together the epigenetics community at Penn, providing a space where scientific endeavors could flourish. With over 30 core labs, the Institute has created an unparalleled environment for collaboration and cutting-edge research, which is often published in top-tier journals. Faculty regularly collaborate with clinical investigators to conduct translational research that advances medical breakthroughs. Our reach goes beyond the Penn community, with participation from labs at CHOP, Wistar, Jefferson, Fox Chase, Drexel and Temple. We engage with nationally and internationally renowned scientists at our monthly seminars and annual symposia. We continue to build the Institute by recruiting new faculty, engaging in large group projects that lead to new research grant opportunities, and establishing state-of-the-art technology cores.

To learn more about the Penn Epigenetics Institute, explore our website!

Coming Soon: the Penn Epigenetics Institute Podcast!

Balint Kacsoh, a postdoc in the Berger lab, and Janice Reynaga, a BMB graduate student in the Garcia lab, are launching a new podcast from the Institute! Our two co-hosts will cover a wide variety of topics through interviews with trainees, faculty, and other University members. Stay tuned for more details!


December 04, 2020

Golnaz Vahedi receives a W. W. Smith Charitable Trust Research Award

Golnaz Vahedi recently received a W. W. Smith Charitable Trust Research Award – congratulations! The W. W. Smith Charitable Trust funds basic science research in the areas of heart disease,…

November 19, 2020

Elizabeth A Heller receives grant from SynGAP Research Fund

Dr. Elizabeth Heller was recently awarded a research grant award from the SynGAP Research Fund to support her lab’s work in epigenetic regulation of SynGAP1-related intellectual disability. With the SynGAP…

November 10, 2020

Elizabeth A Heller receives U18 funding from the NIH

Elizabeth Heller has received U18 funding from the NIH -NIDA Step Up for Substance Use Disorders (SUD): A Drug Target Initiative for Scientists Engaged in Fundamental Research, to study Nr4a1…

November 06, 2020

Ken Zaret featured in Active Motif podcast

Ken Zaret is featured in the newly posted episode “Pioneer Transcription Factors and Their Influence on Chromatin Structure” Shelley Berger is featured in an episode from last year, “Epigenetic Mechanisms…

October 27, 2020

Golnaz Vahedi receives U01 funding from the NIH

Golnaz Vahedi has received U01 funding from the NIH to study transcriptomic and epigenomic of T cells in type 1 diabetes. Penn faculty John Wherry is a co-PI on this…

October 27, 2020

Hongjun Song elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Hongjun Song has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Congratulations Hongjun!

October 27, 2020

Roberto Bonasio receives the 2020 Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award

Roberto Bonasio is a recipient of the 2020 Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award for his outstanding research in the field of epigenetics. Congratulations Roberto!

September 02, 2020

Ben Garcia named Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry

Ben Garcia has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Congratulations!

September 02, 2020

Neha Srikumar (Garcia lab) recipient of NIH T32 training grant

Neha Srikumar was awarded a graduate fellowship slot on the NIH T32 Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics training grant. Congratulations!

September 02, 2020

Ben Garcia recipient of HUPO Discovery in Proteomics Science award

Ben Garcia has been selected to receive the HUPO Discovery in Proteomics Science Award. Congratulations!

Featured Labs

Conine Lab

The Conine lab studies RNA in sperm and its role in epigenetic inheritance. Get to know them here!

Anguera Lab

The Anguera lab studies X-inactivation and its role in immunity. Get to know them here!

Garcia Lab

The Garcia lab uses quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics to study epigenetics. Get to know them here!

Publication Highlights

From Shelley Berger Lab

Egervari GGlastad KMBerger SL. Science. 2020;370(657):660-662. doi: 10.1126/science.abb4367.

From Doris Wagner Lab

Zhu Y, Klasfeld S, Jeong CW, Jin R, Goto K, Yamaguchi N, Wagner D. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):5118. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18782-1. PMID: 33046692

From Hao Wu Lab

Qiu Q, Hu P, Qiu X, Govek KW, Cámara PG, Wu H. Nat Methods. 2020 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/s41592-020-0935-4. PMID: 32868927

From Gerd Blobel Lab
From Jennifer Phillips-Cremins Lab

Zhang D, Huang P, Sharma M, Keller CA, Giardine B, Zhang H, Gilgenast TG, Phillips-Cremins JE, Hardison RC, Blobel GA. Nat Genet. 2020 Aug 31. doi: 10.1038/s41588-020-0680-8. PMID: 32868908

From Roberto Bonasio Lab
From Ben Garcia Lab
From Kavitha Sarma Lab

Ren W, Medeiros N, Warneford-Thomson R, Wulfridge P, Yan Q, Bian J, Sidoli S, Garcia BA, Skordalakes E, Joyce E, Bonasio R, Sarma K. Nat Commun. 2020;11(1):2219. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15902-9. PMID: 32376827


Contact the Institute

Epigenetics Institute
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
9th Floor, Smilow Center for Translational Research
3400 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Sophia Castro-Anderson
T: 215-573-5858

Samantha Falk
Social Media Coordinator