Benoit Bruneau’s lab is broadly interested in understanding how genes are turned on and off during human development, and how this process is controlled during the formation of the heart in the embryo. Specifically, his team is investigating how errors in this process cause congenital heart disease. They use mouse models and human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to unravel the transcription factor networks that regulate sets of genes critical for heart development.

Disease Areas

Birth Defects
Congenital Heart Disease
Heart Failure

Areas of Expertise

Disease Models
Heart Development
Gene Regulation
CRISPR and Genome Editing
Stem Cells
Human Genetics
Working in the Bruneau lab

Lab Focus

Studying the actions of chromatin remodeling complexes and epigenetic regulators on cardiac genes and their role in heart development and function
Understanding interactions between disease-related transcription factors and chromatin modifying complexes in the regulation of cardiac morphogenesis
Investigating the cellular regulation of important morphogenetic processes, such as cardiac septation

Research Impact

Research in Bruneau’s lab is important for understanding basic concepts in gene regulation and how they are dysregulated in disease. They demonstrated interactions between cardiac transcription factors, which provided new insights into the tight regulation of gene cohorts and has had immediate implications in understanding how mutations in these genes cause similar heart defects. These findings are broadly impactful as they apply to any set of transcription factors, in any cell type. In addition, his team’s work on 3D genome organization resolved several long-standing questions in biology applicable to all cells in the body.


Professional Titles

Senior Investigator and Director, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease

Director, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease

Senior Investigator, Gladstone Institutes

William H. Younger Chair in Cardiovascular Research, Gladstone Institutes

Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UC San Francisco


Benoit G. Bruneau, PhD, is the director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and a senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes. He is also a professor of pediatrics at UC San Francisco.

Originally from Canada, Bruneau earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a doctorate in Physiology at the University of Ottawa. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Genetics at Harvard University Medical School in the lab of Jonathan and Christine Seidman. Before coming to Gladstone, Bruneau led a lab at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and was an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto.

Holder of the William H. Younger Chair in Cardiovascular Research, he has distinguished himself internationally as a leading figure in the field of epigenetics and gene regulation, particularly as it relates to cardiac biology and disease. He also serves as an editor for the journal Development and sits on the editorial board of Genes & Development.

How Did You Get Your Start In Science?

“My third-year undergraduate developmental biology class had a hands-on Axolotl embryology lab. We did classic fate-map experiments, and beating heart explants. I was hooked.”

Benoit Bruneau, PhD

Honors and Awards

2012 American Heart Association (Fellow)

2010 Established Investigator Award (5 years), Lawrence J. and Florence A. DeGeorge Charitable Trust/American Heart Association

2003 Premier’s Research Excellence Award, Canada

2001 New Investigator Award, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research



Benoit Bruneau

Lab Members

Andrew Blair, MS
Emily Brower
Research Associate II
Emily Bulger, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Aaron Diaz
Student Intern
Martin Dominguez, MD, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Matthew George, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Zoe Grant, PhD
Kelly Hayes
Research Associate III
Abe Horrillo
Graduate Student
Austin Hsu, PhD
Haiming Hu
Rotation Student
Kevin Hu
Lisa Iwamoto-Stohl, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Carine Joubran, MS
Research Associate II
Vasumathi Kameswaran
Irfan Kathiriya, MD, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Alexis Leigh Krup, PhD
Megan Matthews
Visiting Researcher
Jon Muncie-Vasic, PhD
Vaishaali Natarajan, PhD
Elphege-Pierre Nora, PhD
Visiting Scientist
Catherine Pham
Student Intern
Kavitha Rao, PhD
Research Scientist
Sarah Winchester
Research Associate II
Jingshing Wu, MD, PhD
Visiting Scientist