Alison I. Bernstein, PhD
Assistant Professor, Translational Neuroscience
Ph.D., 2009, Washington University in St. Louis
Grand Rapids Campus
Grand Rapids Research Center
Research in the Bernstein lab focuses on how epigenetic modifications mediate neurotoxicological effects and gene-environment interactions underlying sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. Although these diseases are generally diseases of the aged, the neurodegenerative process begins long before clinical diagnosis. Thus, exposures the occur early in life may contribute to sporadic forms of disease by directly affecting the vulnerability of neurological systems. Epigenetic modifications are thought to imprint environmental experiences on the genome, resulting in stable alterations in phenotype. Thus, linking epigenetic changes with functional outcomes will help to elucidate the mechanisms underlying sporadic neurodegenerative diseases and further our understanding of the complex relationship between toxicity, epigenetics and neuronal vulnerability.