Payel Sen, Ph.D.

Stadtman Investigator

Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics


251 Bayview Boulevard
Room 10B131
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

Senescence and aging are associated with global and local changes in the chromatin landscape. These include loss of histones, imbalances in activating and repressive histone modifications, global DNA hypomethylation but focal hypermethylation, breakdown of lamina-associated heterochromatin, etc. These changes culminate in altered gene expression manifesting in decline of cellular health and disease. We seek to understand these changes in greater detail and higher resolution in the naturally aged mouse model, ultimately narrowing down on key enzymes and transcription factors that drive aging. Our long-term goal is to modulate these factors using epigenetic drugs, CRISPR/Cas9 and other cellular reprogramming strategies to improve healthspan and lifespan.


Dr. Sen received her bachelor’s degree in Physiology and master’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Calcutta, India. She received her PhD in Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry from Southern Illinois University. Her PhD research involved dissecting the regulatory roles of accessory subunits in the yeast SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. She then joined the laboratory of Dr. Shelley Berger at the Epigenetics Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, where she performed two high-throughput screens and identified novel epigenetic regulators of senescence and aging. She has received awards and fellowships from the American Heart Association, American Federation for Aging Research, the Paul F. Glenn Foundation and the NIH. She joined the NIA in 2019 as a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator, where she leads the Functional Epigenomics Unit.

Selected Publications

  1. Sen P, Lan Y, Li CY, Sidoli S, Donahue G, Dou Z, Frederick B, Chen Q, Luense LJ, Garcia BA, Dang W, Johnson FB, Adams PD, Schultz DC, Berger SL. Histone Acetyltransferase p300 Induces De Novo Super-Enhancers to Drive Cellular Senescence. Mol Cell. 2019;73(4):684-698.e8.

  2. Yang N, Sen P. The senescent cell epigenome. Aging (Albany NY). 2018;10(11):3590-3609.

  3. Sen P, Luo J, Hada A, Hailu SG, Dechassa ML, Persinger J, Brahma S, Paul S, Ranish J, Bartholomew B. Loss of Snf5 Induces Formation of an Aberrant SWI/SNF Complex. Cell Rep. 2017;18(9):2135-2147.

  4. Sen P, Shah PP, Nativio R, Berger SL. Epigenetic Mechanisms of Longevity and Aging. Cell. 2016;166(4):822-839.

  5. Sen P, Dang W, Donahue G, Dai J, Dorsey J, Cao X, Liu W, Cao K, Perry R, Lee JY, Wasko BM, Carr DT, He C, Robison B, Wagner J, Gregory BD, Kaeberlein M, Kennedy BK, Boeke JD, Berger SL. H3K36 methylation promotes longevity by enhancing transcriptional fidelity. Genes Dev. 2015;29(13):1362-76.

This page was last updated on August 14th, 2020