Berenice A. Benayoun

Assistant Professor of Gerontology
USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Berenice A. Benayoun

Research Topics

  • How is remodeling of chromatin landscapes during aging and in response to longevity interventions determined and regulated?
  • How are specific aspects of transcriptions regulated and impaired during aging?
  • What role does sex, an important yet understudied factor in aging and longevity, play in the regulation of aging?

Research Overview

Aging is the leading risk factor in many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer?s and other neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular dysfunction or cancer. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of the aging process will ultimately have tremendous impact to improve human health and lifespan.
Research in the Benayoun lab focuses on the study of how aging influences genomic regulation, and in return, how modulation of the epigenome and transcriptome can influence the aging process. Our goal is to discover novel target genes and pathways playing a fundamental role in healthy and pathological aging by leveraging the power of big data.
To study this question, we use a unique combination of high-throughput ?omics? approaches, machine-learning, and experimental validation in vertebrate aging models, with a focus on adult mouse neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) as a cellular model system, and a new naturally short-lived model organism, the African turquoise killifish. The progressive decline of adult NSPCs function during aging is associated with cognitive and sensory decline, but mechanisms responsible for the maintenance of NSPCs in a youthful functional state and for their functional decay with age remain elusive.
A critical aspect of research in the Benayoun lab is the use of multiple vertebrate model organisms. Indeed, while the mouse is a great vertebrate model, its long lifespan in the lab makes longitudinal or experimental studies impractical, especially when evaluating complex phenotypes. These considerations led us to spearhead the de novo sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the African turquoise killifish genome, the shortest-lived vertebrate that can be bred in captivity. Despite this compressed lifespan, the African turquoise killifish display all key age-related phenotypes, including age-related cognitive decline. Our work has transformed the use of this organism as a vertebrate model, and we are now leveraging the power of this model to complement our studies in mice.

Contact Information

Mailing Address 3715 McClintock Ave
Room B14
Los Angeles CA 90089
Office Location GER B14
Office Phone (213) 821-5997
Lab Location GER B23
Lab Phone (213) 740-6394
Office Location GER B14



  • BSc. Universite Paris Diderot-Paris7, Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris
  • MSc Universite Paris Diderot-Paris7
  • PhD Universite Paris Diderot-Paris7

Selected Publications

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