Andrew Feinberg studied mathematics and humanities at Yale in the Directed Studies honors program, and he received his B.A. (1973) and M.D. (1976) from the accelerated medical program at Johns Hopkins University, as well as an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins (1981). He performed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental biology at UCSD, clinical training in medicine at University of Pennsylvania, and genetics research and clinical training at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Feinberg is considered the founder of the field of cancer epigenetics, having discovered altered DNA methylation in cancer in the early 1980’s with Bert Vogelstein. Over the decades since, Feinberg and his colleagues have shaped the landscape of our understanding of DNA methylation and other epigenetic changes, and their applications to epidemiology and medicine, and have introduced groundbreaking statistical and laboratory methods to the study of the epigenome. He and his colleagues discovered human imprinted genes and loss of imprinting (LOI) in cancer, and they proved the epigenetic hypothesis of cancer through their work on Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome.
Most recently, they pioneered genome-scale epigenetics (epigenomics), with the first NIH funded Epigenome Center, pioneering methods including the first comprehensive genome-scale methylation discovering the major target for epigenetic variation in humans, CpG island shores. He led the first whole genome bisulfite sequencing analysis of human cancer, discovering large hypomethylated blocks that correspond to nuclear lamina-associated heterochromatin, as well as a mechanism for disruption of these blocks in epithelial-mesenchymal transition. He has also helped to create the field of epigenetic epidemiology, discovering epigenetic mediation of genetic variants in disease. He has made several important theoretical contributions as well, including the epigenetic progenitor hypothesis of cancer and the role of entropy in epigenetic development and disease.
He is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine, Engineering and Public Health, where he is Director of the Center for Epigenetics. He is a recipient of an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, is a member of the National Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the NIH Council of Councils, and he has received honorary doctorates from the University of Uppsala, the Karolinska Institute, and the University of Amsterdam.