Ben Laufer

Ben Laufer

CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

University of California Davis


Ben Laufer is a postdoctoral fellow in the LaSalle lab at the University of California Davis. He makes use of computational and experimental methods to examine the epigenetic interface between neurodevelopment and environment. He is also the editor at EpiGenie. Outside of the science world he enjoys biking, swimming, and photography.

  • Bioinformatics
  • Gene Regulation
  • Neuroscience
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Genomics, 2021

    University of California Davis, USA

  • PhD in Cellular & Molecular Biology, 2016

    Western University, Canada

  • BSc (Hons) in Genetics, 2010

    Western University, Canada


Click on each project to learn more.
Placental Footprints of Neurodevelopment
Cell-free fetal DNA and placenta contain a subset of differentially methylated regions that reflect brain DNA methylation profiles.
Genetic Impacts on the Epigenome
Over-expression of DNMT3L and RUNX1 contributes to regional DNA hypermethylation and DNA hypomethylation in Down syndrome brain and blood, respectively.
Environmental Impacts on the Epigenome
DNA hypermethylation of the clustered protocadherins is a conserved signature in adult brains from a mouse model of prenatal alcohol exposure and in buccal swabs from human children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).


DMRichR is an R package and executable for the preprocessing, statistical analysis, and visualization of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and global methylation levels from CpG count matrices (Bismark cytosine reports).
CpG_Me is a whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) pipeline for the alignment and QC of DNA methylation that goes from from raw reads (FastQ) to a CpG count matrix (Bismark cytosine reports).

Recent Publications

(2021). Epigenetic Impacts of Early Life Stress in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Shape the Neurodevelopmental Continuum. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.


(2021). Stable DNMT3L overexpression in SH-SY5Y neurons recreates a facet of the genome-wide Down syndrome DNA methylation signature. Epigenetics and Chromatin.

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(2020). Cord blood DNA methylome in newborns later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder reflects early dysregulation of neurodevelopmental and X-linked genes. Genome Medicine.


(2020). Low-pass whole genome bisulfite sequencing of neonatal dried blood spots identifies a role for RUNX1 in down syndrome DNA methylation profiles. Human Molecular Genetics.

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(2019). Whole genome bisulfite sequencing of Down syndrome brain reveals regional DNA hypermethylation and novel disorder insights. Epigenetics.

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Science Communication

EpiGenie was founded in 2007 as the first dedicated Epigenetics news source. I joined in 2013. Initially, my role was that of a technical writer. Since then, my role has matured to be almost entirely editorial, where I select and edit the headlines for a team of writers that I manage. This link will take you to the >250 articles I have written for EpiGenie.
This is Epigenetics
I served as elected chair of a new CEEHRC committee consisting of 9 trainees from across Canada focused on creating a website for bilingual written and audio (podcast) science communication and knowledge translation efforts for scientists, clinicians, educators, and the general public.


What is Epigenetics?


OHSU and Swift Low-pass WGBS Webinar


Qiagen Bioinformatics Webinar