Andrew Feinberg named Hagler Fellow at Texas A&M University

The Bloomberg Distinguished Professor will conduct epigenetic studies at TAMU facilities and build research collaborations between the universities through the fellowship

The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study at Texas A&M announced Andrew Feinberg, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Epigenetics, as one of ten Hagler Fellows for its Class of 2020-21. The Hagler Institute plans to induct the Class of 2020-21 Hagler Fellows during its annual gala in 2021.

Andrew Feinberg

Image caption: Andrew Feinberg

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

The program aims to provide a catalyst to advance research productivity by bringing together distinguished faculty and providing an environment for collaboration within and across disciplines. Hagler Fellows are selected from among top scholars in their respective fields who have been recognized internationally for their scholarship and professional accomplishments, and who belong to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the Academy of Arts and Sciences; or hold recognitions in their fields of equal stature. Since the program was launched in 2012, 80 researchers have been named Hagler Fellows and brought to Texas A&M University to collaborate with faculty, researchers, and students on groundbreaking research projects.

For Feinberg, this distinction is a culmination of years of partnership and interdisciplinary work between JHU and TAMU on how genetics and environmental factors interact to result in disease, as well as the mechanisms through which this happens.

"I've been working with David Threadgill, a mouse geneticist at TAMU, on testing our ideas about how genes and environment conspire to cause disease by changing the epigenome; he and his colleagues have a unique resource of mice that show DNA sequence complexity similar to that of humans," Feinberg says.

As a Hagler Fellow, Feinberg plans to advance his mouse research modeling gene environment interaction of common human traits, such as lead poisoning and diet. It is also an opportunity for his Johns Hopkins students to spend time in the TAMU labs and to bring TAMU students and fellows to Hopkins. "I can learn a lot from students and faculty at TAMU in fields that are new to me, such as veterinary and nutrition science," he explains. "And I hope that my lab and I can teach them some epigenetics in exchange."

The honor also comes with what Feinberg sees as a personal perk.

"On my visits I get to eat Texas barbecue, which, to my astonishment, is actually brisket, the same thing we eat here on Jewish holidays, just not smoked."