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Title: Staff Scientist
Office(s): Experimental Gerontology Section (EGS)
Phone Number: 410-558-8199
Email Address:


Dr. Bernier received his Ph.D. in Clinical Sciences/Cell Biology from the Université de Montréal, Canada, in 1983. He then did a 2-year post-doctoral training at INSERM U.162 in Lyon, France before moving to Baltimore for an additional 3-year post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. M. Daniel Lane in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Bernier took a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at McGill University, Montreal, before his recruitment into the NIA-IRP in 1990. Dr. Bernier has occupied multiple positions, working most recently as a Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, Diabetes Section, until October 2012. Since then, Dr. Bernier joined the Experimental Gerontology Section within the Translational Gerontology Branch (TGB) and has focused his research on the basic biology of aging and dietary manipulations for healthy aging, in line with the research goals of TGB.

Dr. Bernier has been extremely productive, co-authoring 174 original publications, reviews, and book chapters, many of them as either first or senior author. Currently his H-index is 51 and on a steady upward trajectory, with an i-10 of 131.  In addition, he is actively engaged in the mentoring and tutoring of postdoctoral fellows and technicians, having recently received an NIA Director's Award for his mentorship skills and dedication.

Research Interests/Portfolio

Throughout his research career, Dr. Bernier has gained broad understanding and appreciation of the complexity surrounding biological processes implicated in glucose homeostasis during normal aging and pathophysiological states, including type 2 diabetes and cancer. Over the years, he has expanded his horizon by utilizing a broad range of laboratory methods in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology to the more complete understanding of complex biological systems using a multi-omics analytical approach. The quest of new knowledge has been at the forefront of Dr. Bernier’s research endeavors and continues to this day.

            Dr. Bernier has had the opportunity to develop collegial relationships with our research community here at the National Institute on Aging, NIH, and at premier academic institutions across the U.S. and around of the globe. Early in his career, he focused his efforts in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of insulin receptor signal transduction and participated in collaborative anticancer drug development projects within the NIA intramural program. Two separate patents were issued from the latter work. Dr. Bernier’s long-standing collaboration with Rafael de Cabo in TGB has focused primarily on assessing the impact of chronic caloric restriction, changes in dietary patterns like intermittent fasting, and pharmacological interventions such as metformin, resveratrol, nicotinamide, and disulfiram on health and survival in laboratory mice and nonhuman primates. This effort has produced seminal publications in the aging field. Current research interests include the use of a multi-omics approach combined with extensive physiological assessments in mice to unravel the complex metabolic and epigenetic signatures that contribute to the organism’s health and survival.


Select Publications

Di Francesco A, Di Germanio C, Bernier M, de Cabo R. A time to fast. Science. 2018 Nov; 362:770-775, doi: 10.1126/science.aau2095. PubMed PMID: 30442801.

Mitchell SJ, Bernier M, Mattison JA, Aon MA, Kaiser TA, Anson RM, Ikeno Y, Anderson RM, Ingram DK, de Cabo R. Daily fasting improves health and survival in male mice independent of diet composition and calories. Cell Metab. 2019 Jan; 29:221-228. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.08.011. PubMed PMID: 30197301; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6326845.

Bernier M, Mitchell SJ, Wahl D, Diaz A, Singh A, Seo W, Wang M, Ali A, Kaiser T, Price NL, Aon MA, Kim EY, Petr MA, Cai H, Warren A, Di Germanio C, Di Francesco A, Fishbein K, Guiterrez V, Harney D, Koay YC, Mach J, Navas-Enamorado I, Pulpitel T, Wang Y, Zhang J, Zhang L, Spencer RG, Becker KG, Egan JM, Lakatta EG, O’Sullivan J, Larance M, LeCouteur DG, Cogger VC, Bin Gao B, Fernandez-Hernando C, Cuervo AM, de Cabo R. Disulfiram treatment normalizes body weight in obese mice. Cell Metab. 2020 Aug 04; 32:203-214.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.04.019. PubMed PMID: 32413333; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7957855.

Aon MA*, Bernier M*, Mitchell SJ, Di Germanio C, Mattison JA, Ehrlich MR, Colman RJ, Anderson RM, de Cabo R. Untangling determinants of enhanced health and lifespan through a multi-omics approach in mice. Cell Metab. 2020 Jul 07; 32:100-116.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.04.018. PubMed PMID: 32413334; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8214079. * Co-first authors.

Petr MA, Alfaras I, Krawcyzk M, Bair WN, Mitchell SJ, Morrell CH, Studenski SA, Price NL, Fishbein KW, Spencer RG, Scheibye-Knudsen M, Lakatta EG, Ferrucci L, Aon MA, Bernier M, de Cabo R. A cross-sectional study of functional and metabolic changes during aging through the lifespan in male mice. eLife 2021 Apr 20; 10:e62952. doi: 10.7554/eLife.62952. PubMed PMID: 33876723; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8099423.

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