Berenice A. Benayoun

Associate Professor of Gerontology, Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

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Bérénice Benayoun, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She holds secondary appointments in the Department of Molecular and Computational Biology Department of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. She joined the USC faculty in 2017.

Dr. Benayoun received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris and Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 in Paris, France. Her PhD work focused on a transcription factor whose mutations lead to a human syndrome associated to premature menopause. During her post-doctoral training, she identified a new key chromatin signature of cell identity and transcriptional consistency, which is partially remodeled during aging. This work has raised important questions about the stability of cellular identity throughout life. Her lab’s current research focuses on epigenome and transcriptome remodeling with aging in vertebrates, how these changes interact with overlooked cues such as biological sex, and the roles that these changes can play in the aging process. Her lab is also one of the pioneering labs in the development of a naturally short-lived vertebrate as a new model for aging research, the African turquoise killifish Nothobranchius furzeri.

Dr. Benayoun was named a 2020 Pew Biomedical Scholar and the 2021 Nathan Shock new Investigator. Since starting as faculty, she has also been the recipient of the 2019 Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award in Mammalian Genetics, of a Junior Faculty Award from the American Federation of Aging Research, of Junior Scholar Award from the Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality GCRLE. She also serves on the editorial boards of scientific journals Translational Medicine of Aging, Journals of Gerontology series A: Biological Sciences and eLife.


  • AGHE Rising Star Early Career Faculty Award, 2023
  • USC Mentoring Award recipients for Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Students, 2023
  • Rising Star in Reproductive Biology (awarded by the Society for the Study of Reproduction), 2023
  • Nathan Shock New Investigator award (awarded by the Gerontology Society of America), 2021
  • Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award in Mammalian Genetics, 2019


  • An eQTL-based Approach Reveals Candidate Regulators of LINE-1 RNA Levels in Lymphoblastoid Cells bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 29. . View in PubMed
  • Alzheimer’s disease ferroptotic associations with oxidative damage and neuronal loss bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 19. . View in PubMed
  • Age-maintained human neurons demonstrate a developmental loss of intrinsic neurite growth ability bioRxiv. 2023 May 24. . View in PubMed
  • Widespread sex-dimorphism across single-cell transcriptomes of adult African turquoise killifish tissues bioRxiv. 2023 May 08. . View in PubMed
  • Sex-dimorphic expression of extracellular matrix genes in mouse bone marrow neutrophils bioRxiv. 2023 Apr 06. . View in PubMed
  • Considerations for reproducible omics in aging research Nat Aging. 2023 08; 3(8):921-930. . View in PubMed
  • Dynamic regulation of gonadal transposon control across the lifespan of the naturally short-lived African turquoise killifish Genome Res. 2023 01; 33(1):141-153. . View in PubMed
  • Differential Expression Analysis of Nothobranchius furzeri Transposable Elements from RNA-seq Data Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2023 01 03; 2023(1):35-47. . View in PubMed
  • Putting aging on ICE Cell Metab. 2023 03 07; 35(3):383-385. . View in PubMed
  • Menopause Is More Than Just Loss of Fertility Public Policy Aging Rep. 2023; 33(4):113-119. . View in PubMed
  • Sex-dimorphic expression of extracellular matrix genes in mouse bone marrow neutrophils PLoS One. 2023; 18(11):e0294859. . View in PubMed
  • The fidelity of transcription in human cells Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 01 31; 120(5):e2210038120. . View in PubMed
  • Widespread sex dimorphism across single-cell transcriptomes of adult African turquoise killifish tissues Cell Rep. 2023 10 31; 42(10):113237. . View in PubMed
  • Transcriptomes of aging brain, heart, muscle, and spleen from female and male African turquoise killifish Sci Data. 2023 10 12; 10(1):695. . View in PubMed
  • Lack of accelerated ovarian aging in a follicle-stimulating hormone receptor haploinsufficiency model Transl Med Aging. 2023; 7:1-8. . View in PubMed
  • Adult fibroblasts use aggresomes only in distinct cell-states Sci Rep. 2022 Sep 02; 12(1):15001. . View in PubMed
  • Production of MHCII-expressing classical monocytes increases during aging in mice and humans Aging Cell. 2022 10; 21(10):e13701. . View in PubMed
  • Time isn’t kind to female T-cells Nat Aging. 2022 03; 2(3):189-191. . View in PubMed
  • Gentle Isolation of Nuclei from the Brain Tissue of Adult African Turquoise Killifish, a Naturally Short-Lived Model for Aging Research J Vis Exp. 2022 08 09; (186). . View in PubMed
  • Sex as a Biological Variable in Nutrition Research: From Human Studies to Animal Models Annu Rev Nutr. 2022 08 22; 42:227-250. . View in PubMed
  • Endogenous Retroviral Elements Generate Pathologic Neutrophils in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2022 10 15; 206(8):1019-1034. . View in PubMed
  • Functional genomics of inflamm-aging and immunosenescence Brief Funct Genomics. 2022 01 25; 21(1):43-55. . View in PubMed
  • Single-cell RNA-seq of primary bone marrow neutrophils from female and male adult mice Sci Data. 2022 07 23; 9(1):442. . View in PubMed
  • Multi-omic profiling of primary mouse neutrophils predicts a pattern of sex and age-related functional regulation Nat Aging. 2021 08; 1(8):715-733. . View in PubMed
  • A multiomic atlas for the exploration of healthy aging in human monocytes Nat Aging. 2021 01; 1(1):19-21. . View in PubMed
  • Protocol for isolation of adult mouse ear pinnae-derived primary fibroblasts STAR Protoc. 2021 06 18; 2(2):100406. . View in PubMed
  • Genome-wide surveillance of transcription errors in response to genotoxic stress Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 01 05; 118(1). . View in PubMed
  • MOTS-c is an exercise-induced mitochondrial-encoded regulator of age-dependent physical decline and muscle homeostasis Nat Commun. 2021 01 20; 12(1):470. . View in PubMed
  • Protocol for analysis of mouse neutrophil NETosis by flow cytometry STAR Protoc. 2021 12 17; 2(4):100948. . View in PubMed
  • NHR-8 and P-glycoproteins uncouple xenobiotic resistance from longevity in chemosensory Celegans mutants. Elife. 2021 08 27; 10. . View in PubMed
  • Special issue on “Molecular genetics of aging and longevity”: a critical time in the field of geroscience Hum Genet. 2020 Mar; 139(3):275-276. . View in PubMed
  • Widespread sex dimorphism in aging and age-related diseases Hum Genet. 2020 Mar; 139(3):333-356. . View in PubMed
  • Measuring Phagocytosis in Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages and Peritoneal Macrophages with Aging Methods Mol Biol. 2020; 2144:161-170. . View in PubMed
  • The microbiome: an emerging key player in aging and longevity Transl Med Aging. 2020; 4:103-116. . View in PubMed
  • Transposable elements, circular RNAs and mitochondrial transcription in age-related genomic regulation Development. 2020 06 11; 147(11). . View in PubMed
  • Remodeling of the H3 nucleosomal landscape during mouse aging Transl Med Aging. 2020; 4:22-31. . View in PubMed
  • Heterogeneity in old fibroblasts is linked to variability in reprogramming and wound healing Nature. 2019 10; 574(7779):553-558. . View in PubMed
  • MOTS-c: A Mitochondrial-Encoded Regulator of the Nucleus Bioessays. 2019 09; 41(9):e1900046. . View in PubMed
  • Remodeling of epigenome and transcriptome landscapes with aging in mice reveals widespread induction of inflammatory responses Genome Res. 2019 04; 29(4):697-709. . View in PubMed
  • Multi-level remodeling of transcriptional landscapes in aging and longevity BMB Rep. 2019 Jan; 52(1):86-108. . View in PubMed
  • The Mitochondrial-Encoded Peptide MOTS-c Translocates to the Nucleus to Regulate Nuclear Gene Expression in Response to Metabolic StressCell Metab. 2018 09 04; 28(3):516-524. e7. . View in PubMed
  • Histone variant H2AJ accumulates in senescent cells and promotes inflammatory gene expression. Nat Commun. 2017 05 10; 8:14995. . View in PubMed
  • Computational inference of a genomic pluripotency signature in human and mouse stem cells Biol Direct. 2016 09 17; 11:47. . View in PubMed
  • The African Turquoise Killifish Genome Provides Insights into Evolution and Genetic Architecture of Lifespan Cell. 2015 Dec 03; 163(6):1539-54. . View in PubMed
  • High telomerase is a hallmark of undifferentiated spermatogonia and is required for maintenance of male germline stem cells Genes Dev. 2015 Dec 01; 29(23):2420-34. . View in PubMed
  • H3K4me3 Breadth Is Linked to Cell Identity and Transcriptional Consistency Cell. 2015 Nov 19; 163(5):1281-1286. . View in PubMed
  • Identification of AMPK Phosphorylation Sites Reveals a Network of Proteins Involved in Cell Invasion and Facilitates Large-Scale Substrate Prediction Cell Metab. 2015 Nov 03; 22(5):907-21. . View in PubMed
  • Epigenetic regulation of ageing: linking environmental inputs to genomic stability Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Oct; 16(10):593-610. . View in PubMed
  • A platform for rapid exploration of aging and diseases in a naturally short-lived vertebrate Cell. 2015 Feb 26; 160(5):1013-1026. . View in PubMed
  • Inhibition of pluripotency networks by the Rb tumor suppressor restricts reprogramming and tumorigenesis Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Jan 08; 16(1):39-50. . View in PubMed
  • H3K4me3 breadth is linked to cell identity and transcriptional consistency Cell. 2014 Jul 31; 158(3):673-88. . View in PubMed
  • Males shorten the life span of Celegans hermaphrodites via secreted compounds. Science. 2014 Jan 31; 343(6170):541-4. . View in PubMed
  • Adult ovarian granulosa cell tumor transcriptomics: prevalence of FOXL2 target genes misregulation gives insights into the pathogenic mechanism of the pCys134Trp somatic mutation. Oncogene. 2013 May 30; 32(22):2739-46. . View in PubMed
  • Discovery of novel protein partners of the transcription factor FOXL2 provides insights into its physiopathological roles Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Jul 15; 21(14):3264-74. . View in PubMed
  • The transcription factor FOXL2: at the crossroads of ovarian physiology and pathology Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2012 Jun 05; 356(1-2):55-64. . View in PubMed
  • A regulatory domain is required for Foxn4 activity during retinogenesis J Mol Neurosci. 2012 Feb; 46(2):315-23. . View in PubMed
  • Epigenetic memory of longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans Worm. 2012 Jan 01; 1(1):77-81. . View in PubMed
  • The transcription factor encyclopedia Genome Biol. 2012; 13(3):R24. . View in PubMed
  • Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans Nature. 2011 Oct 19; 479(7373):365-71. . View in PubMed
  • Forkhead transcription factors: key players in health and disease Trends Genet. 2011 Jun; 27(6):224-32. . View in PubMed
  • Transcription factor FOXL2 protects granulosa cells from stress and delays cell cycle: role of its regulation by the SIRT1 deacetylase Hum Mol Genet. 2011 May 01; 20(9):1673-86. . View in PubMed
  • SUMOylation of the Forkhead transcription factor FOXL2 promotes its stabilization/activation through transient recruitment to PML bodies PLoS One. 2011; 6(10):e25463. . View in PubMed
  • Generic binding sites, generic DNA-binding domains: where does specific promoter recognition come from? FASEB J. 2010 Feb; 24(2):346-56.. View in PubMed
  • Functional exploration of the adult ovarian granulosa cell tumor-associated somatic FOXL2 mutation pCys134Trp (c. 402C>G). PLoS One. 2010 Jan 20; 5(1):e8789. . View in PubMed
  • The forkhead factor FOXL2: a novel tumor suppressor? Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Jan; 1805(1):1-5.. View in PubMed
  • Towards a functional classification of pathogenic FOXL2 mutations using transactivation reporter systems Hum Mol Genet. 2009 Sep 01; 18(17):3324-33. . View in PubMed
  • The new molecular biology of granulosa cell tumors of the ovary Genome Med. 2009 Aug 25; 1(8):81. . View in PubMed
  • Functional evidence implicating FOXL2 in non-syndromic premature ovarian failure and in the regulation of the transcription factor OSR2 J Med Genet. 2009 Jul; 46(7):455-7. . View in PubMed
  • A post-translational modification code for transcription factors: sorting through a sea of signals Trends Cell Biol. 2009 May; 19(5):189-97. . View in PubMed
  • Positive and negative feedback regulates the transcription factor FOXL2 in response to cell stress: evidence for a regulatory imbalance induced by disease-causing mutations Hum Mol Genet. 2009 Feb 15; 18(4):632-44. . View in PubMed
  • FOXL2: at the crossroads of female sex determination and ovarian function Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009; 665:207-26. . View in PubMed
  • The identification and characterization of a FOXL2 response element provides insights into the pathogenesis of mutant alleles Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Oct 15; 17(20):3118-27. . View in PubMed
  • Differential functional effects of novel mutations of the transcription factor FOXL2 in BPES patients Hum Mutat. 2008 Aug; 29(8):E123-31. . View in PubMed
  • The post-translational modification profile of the forkhead transcription factor FOXL2 suggests the existence of parallel processive/concerted modification pathways Proteomics. 2008 Aug; 8(15):3118-23. . View in PubMed
  • The mutations and potential targets of the forkhead transcription factor FOXL2 Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008 Jan 30; 282(1-2):2-11. . View in PubMed