Bernardo Lemos

Bernardo Lemos

Assistant Professor of Environmental Epigenetics

Department of Environmental Health

Bldg 2, Rm 219
665 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115


Ph.D., 2007, Harvard University 

Genome Function and Environment Interaction

Finding balance in epigenetic systems

The relevance of environmental context to the expression of the genome is unequivocal. Environmental perturbations and nutritional input reshape biological networks, alter regulatory responses, and modulate the emergence of phenotypic variation and disease risk. Our laboratory pursues research themes in epigenetics and cellular memory.

The challenge is to understand and manipulate environmentally modulated genetic diseases. A wiser student likes to call them genetically modulated environmental diseases. Complementary sets of research themes are being pursued to address the challenge. One set of questions is centered on heterochromatin and the biology of repetitious segments: their genetic and epigenetic variation, and manifold functional consequences. Another set of questions is centered on the biology of personal regulatory variation, epigenetic networks, and the dynamics of genotype-by-environmental interaction. A third set of questions addresses individual responses to the environment and the mechanisms through which toxic environmental stress and nutritional input create epi-alleles that are stable in somatic tissues and between generations.

We approach our research questions through careful genomic experimentation and integrative computational analyses. These are blended with rigorous genetic manipulations within a variety of environmental contexts.

Selected Publications

Gibbons JG, Branco AT, Yu, S, Lemos B. 2014. Ribosomal DNA copy number is coupled with gene expression variation and mitochondrial abundance in humans. Nature Communications 5:4854.

Branco AT, Lemos B. 2014. High intake of dietary sugar enhances bisphenol A (BPA) disruption and reveals ribosome-mediated pathways of toxicity. Genetics 197 (1), 147-157.

Silkaitis K, Lemos B. 2014. Sex-biased chromatin and regulatory cross-talk between sex chromosomes, autosomes, and mitochondria. Biology of Sex Differences 5 (2): 1-14.

Paredes S, Branco AT, Hartl DL, Maggert K, Lemos B. 2011. Ribosomal DNA deletions modulate genome-wide gene expression: “rDNA-sensitive” genes and natural variation. PLoS Genetics 7(4):e1001376.

Lemos B, Branco AT, Hartl DL. 2010. Epigenetic effects of polymorphic Y chromosomes modulate chromatin components, immune response, and sexual conflict. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(36):15826-15831.

Lemos B, Araripe LO, Hartl DL. 2008. Polymorphic Y chromosomes harbor cryptic variation with manifold functional consequences. Science 319:91-93.

Lemos B. 2007. The opossum genome reveals further evidence for regulatory evolution in mammalian diversification. Genome Biology 8:223-226.

Landry CR, Lemos B, Rifkin SA, Dickinson WJ, Hartl DL. 2007. Genetic properties influencing the evolvability of gene expression. Science 317:118-121. first two authors contributed equally

Lemos B, Meiklejohn CD, Caceres M, Hartl DL. 2005. Rates of divergence in gene expression profiles of primates, mice, and flies: stabilizing selection and variability among functional categories. Evolution 59(1): 126-137.