Alison I. Bernstein, PhD

Alison I. Bernstein, PhD
  • Assistant Professor of Translational Neuroscience
  • Department of Translational Neuroscience
  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
  • Grand Rapids Research Center
  • 400 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: 616.234.0957
  • Fax: 616.234.0991


Alison Bernstein joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Translational Neuroscience at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine campus in Grand Rapids, MI in 2016. She received her undergraduate training in the Biological Basis of Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. training in genetics and neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. She did her postdoctoral training at Emory University with Dr. Gary Miller, Dr. Peng Jin, Dr. Allan Levey, and Dr. Jennifer Mullé, where she focused on neurotoxicology and neuroepigenetics in Parkinson’s disease. Her research focuses on understanding the role of epigenetics and the environment in the etiology of sporadic Parkinson’s disease.


Institution Field of Study Degree Earned Year
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Biological Basis of Behavior  B.A. 2000
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO  Molecular Genetics and Genomics  Ph.D 2009
Emory University, Atlanta, GA Neuroscience, Neuroepigenetics, Neurotoxicology  Postdoctoral Fellow 2009-201

Research Interests

Dr. Bernstein’s research focuses on understanding the epigenetic changes that occur in Parkinson’s disease and how alterations to the epigenome by environmental exposures alters Parkinson’s disease risk. Work in the lab ranges includes epigenetic studies in human tissue, bioinformatic and statistical analysis, and toxicological studies in animal and cell culture models.

Technical Expertise

  • Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis
  • Neurotransmitter uptake assays
  • High throughput imaging analysis
  • Toxicological rodent models
  • Cell cultures (primary neurons and cell lines)
  • Western blotting
  • Stereological analyses (including confocal stereology)
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Confocal microscopy