Eric Greer, PhD


Eric GreerI obtained m BA in Biochemistry from CWRU in 2004 and my PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford in 2010 for work done in the lab of Anne Brunet, PhD. During my graduate work, I did some of the first work on identifying the molecular basis for how dietary restriction, a reduction in nutrients without starvation, can extend lifespan. My work also demonstrated that chromatin modifications, particular histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation, could regulate lifespan in C. elegans. After my graduate studies, I completed my postdoctoral training in Dr. Yang Shi’s lab at Harvard Medical School. During my post-doc, I began to decipher how non-genetic information is transmitted from ancestors to their descendants. Through this search, I was able to identify a novel form of DNA modification, methylation on adenines, in metazoan that might be responsible for stable transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

I started my lab in 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, before joining Washington University in St. Louis in 2023. This work has been made possible thanks to a number of awards, including an NIH New Innovator Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.


The Greer lab is interested in how non-genetic information, termed epigenetics, regulates complex physiological and pathological phenotypes across generations. An increasing number of complex phenotypes, such as physical appearance, energy metabolism, psychological state, and longevity, have been shown to be regulated, in part, by epigenetic information. The rapidly expanding field of epigenetics describes how gene expression changes occur without changes to the DNA sequence. Proteins, RNA molecules, or chemical modifications to histones or DNA can induce these epigenetic changes. Our research aims to determine how this epigenetic information is regulated, how it instructs biological outcomes, and how this epigenetic information can be passed from generation to generation. Other work in our lab focuses on identifying new epigenetic and epitranscriptomic regulators and the biological consequences of these post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications in diverse model organisms (D. discoideum, C. elegans, M. musculus) and in human cell lines and how dysregulation of epigenetic mechanisms cause developmental defects and diseases.

Recent publications

  1. Wang SY, Kim K, O’Brown ZK, Levan A, Dodson AE, Kennedy SG, Chernoff C, and Greer EL, Hypoxia Induces Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance of Small RNAs. Cell Reports 41(11):111800 (2022)
  2. Liberman N, Gerashchenko MV, Boulias K, MacWhinnie FG, Ying AK, Taylor AF, Al Haddad J, Shibuya H, Roach L, Dong A, Gladyshev VN, and Greer EL, Intergenerational hormesis is regulated by heritable 18S rRNA methylation. bioRxiv, doi: (2021)
  3. Wang SY, Pollina EA, Wang I-H, Bushnell HL, Takashima K, Fritsche C, Sabin G, Greer PL, and Greer EL, Role of epigenetics in unicellular to multicellular transition in Dictyostelium. Genome Biology 22(1):134-164 (2021)
  4. Liberman N*, O’Brown ZK*, Earl AS*, Boulias K, Gerashchenko MV, Wang SY, Fritsche C, Fady PE, Dong A, Gladyshev VN, and Greer EL, N6-adenosine methylation of ribosomal RNA affects lipid oxidation and stress resistance. Science Advances6(17):eaaz4370 (2020) * co-first authors
  5. Wang SY*, Mao H*, Shibuya H*, Uzawa S, O’Brown ZK, Wesenberg S, Shin N, Saito TT, Gao J, Meyer BJ, Colaiacovo MP, and Greer EL, The demethylase NMAD-1 regulates DNA replication and repair in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline. PLoS Genetics 15(7):e1008252 (2019) * co-first author
  6. Boulias K*, Toczydlowska-Socha D*, Hawley BR*, Liberman N, Takashima K, Zaccara S, Guez T, Vasseur JJ, Debart F, L. Aravind, Jaffrey SR$, and Greer EL$, Identification of the m6Am Methyltransferase PCIF1 Reveals the Location and Functions of m6Am in the Transcriptome. Mol Cell 75(3): 631-43.e8 (2019) * co-first authors $ co-corresponding authors
  7. Greer EL*$, Blanco MA*, Gu L, Sendinc E, Liu J, Aristizábal-Corrales D, Hsu C-H, Aravind L., He C, and Shi Y$ DNA methylation on N6-adenine in C. elegans. Cell 161(4):868-78 (2015) * co-first author $ co-corresponding authors
  8. Greer EL, Maures TJ, Ucar D, Hauswirth AG, Mancini E, Lim JP, Benayoun BA, Shi Y, and Brunet A. Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance of Longevity in C. elegans. Nature 479(7373):365-71 (2011).