Oliver Bell, PhD

Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine

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We are interested in the mechanisms that underlie epigenetic memory of cell fate decisions. Chromatin modifications facilitate the regulation of differential expression of key control genes required for cellular differentiation. Diverse chemical modifications of nucleosomes and DNA play a fundamental role in gene regulation, shaping DNA accessibility and signaling to maintain gene expression states.

We study the dynamic regulation of chromatin modifications and how these marks contribute to epigenetic inheritance of gene silencing. Our lab uses synthetic biology approaches in mouse embryonic stem cells to manipulate chromatin modifications and study their dynamics and inheritance.


  • HFSPO: Human Frontier Science Program Career Development Award, 2014-2018
  • HFSPO: Human Frontier Science Program Long-term fellowship, 2010-2012
  • EMBO: EMBO Long-term Fellowship, 2009-2010


  • ZFP462 safeguards neural lineage specification by targeting G9A/GLP-mediated heterochromatin to silence enhancers Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Jan; 25(1):42-55. . View in PubMed
  • Reprogramming CBX8-PRC1 function with a positive allosteric modulatorCell Chem Biol. 2022 04 21; 29(4):555-571. e11. . View in PubMed
  • Parallel PRC2/cPRC1 and vPRC1 pathways silence lineage-specific genes and maintain self-renewal in mouse embryonic stem cells Sci Adv. 2020 04; 6(14):eaax5692. . View in PubMed
  • Phenotype delineation of ZNF462 related syndrome Am J Med Genet A. 2019 10; 179(10):2075-2082. . View in PubMed
  • Pathway-Based High-Throughput Chemical Screen Identifies Compounds That Decouple Heterochromatin Transformations SLAS Discov. 2019 09; 24(8):802-816. . View in PubMed
  • Canonical PRC1 controls sequence-independent propagation of Polycomb-mediated gene silencing Nat Commun. 2019 04 29; 10(1):1931. . View in PubMed
  • Discovery and Characterization of a Cellular Potent Positive Allosteric Modulator of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 Chromodomain, CBX7Cell Chem Biol. 2019 10 17; 26(10):1365-1379. e22. . View in PubMed
  • Nucleosome Turnover Regulates Histone Methylation Patterns over the GenomeMol Cell. 2019 01 03; 73(1):61-72. e3. . View in PubMed
  • A reversible haploid mouse embryonic stem cell biobank resource for functional genomics Nature. 2017 10 05; 550(7674):114-118. . View in PubMed
  • The histone chaperone CAF-1 safeguards somatic cell identity Nature. 2015 Dec 10; 528(7581):218-24. . View in PubMed
  • Dynamics and memory of heterochromatin in living cells Cell. 2012 Jun 22; 149(7):1447-60. . View in PubMed
  • Determinants and dynamics of genome accessibility Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jul 12; 12(8):554-64. . View in PubMed
  • Accessibility of the Drosophila genome discriminates PcG repression, H4K16 acetylation and replication timing Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Jul; 17(7):894-900. . View in PubMed
  • Chromatin: sub out the replacement Curr Biol. 2009 Jul 28; 19(14):R545-7. . View in PubMed
  • Chromatin state marks cell-type- and gender-specific replication of the Drosophila genome Genes Dev. 2009 Mar 01; 23(5):589-601. . View in PubMed
  • Transcription-coupled methylation of histone H3 at lysine 36 regulates dosage compensation by enhancing recruitment of the MSL complex in Drosophila melanogaster Mol Cell Biol. 2008 May; 28(10):3401-9. . View in PubMed
  • Localized H3K36 methylation states define histone H4K16 acetylation during transcriptional elongation in Drosophila EMBO J. 2007 Dec 12; 26(24):4974-84. . View in PubMed
  • Altered body iron distribution and microcytosis in mice deficient in iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) Blood. 2005 Oct 01; 106(7):2580-9. . View in PubMed
  • Variant histone H33 is deposited at sites of nucleosomal displacement throughout transcribed genes while active histone modifications show a promoter-proximal bias. Genes Dev. 2005 Aug 01; 19(15):1761-6. . View in PubMed