Mary Gehring

Mary Gehring

Professor of Biology; Core Member and David Baltimore Chair in Biomedical Research, Whitehead Institute; Graduate Officer

Mary Gehring researches epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in plants.





Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research


Beverly Dobson



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 2005, University of California, Berkeley
  • BA, 1998, Biology, Williams College

Research Summary

We focus on plant epigenetics — that is, the heritable information that influences cellular function but is not encoded in the DNA sequence itself. We use genetic, genomic and molecular biology approaches to study the fidelity of epigenetic inheritance and the dynamics of epigenomic reprogramming during reproduction, primarily in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. More specifically, we investigate the interplay among repetitive sequences, DNA methylation and chromatin structure in these dynamic processes.


  • Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, 2013
  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, 2011

Recent Publications

  1. CRWN nuclear lamina components maintain the H3K27me3 landscape and promote successful reproduction in Arabidopsis. Choi, J, Gehring, M. 2023. bioRxiv , .
    doi: 10.1101/2023.10.03.560721PMID:37873406
  2. Epigenetic Regulation During Plant Development and the Capacity for Epigenetic Memory. Hemenway, EA, Gehring, M. 2023. Annu Rev Plant Biol 74, 87-109.
    doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-070122-025047PMID:36854474
  3. RNA Pol IV induces antagonistic parent-of-origin effects on Arabidopsis endosperm. Satyaki, PRV, Gehring, M. 2022. PLoS Biol 20, e3001602.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001602PMID:35389984
  4. Somatic DNA demethylation generates tissue-specific methylation states and impacts flowering time. Williams, BP, Bechen, LL, Pohlmann, DA, Gehring, M. 2022. Plant Cell 34, 1189-1206.
    doi: 10.1093/plcell/koab319PMID:34954804
  5. Maternal-filial transfer structures in endosperm: A nexus of nutritional dynamics and seed development. Povilus, RA, Gehring, M. 2022. Curr Opin Plant Biol 65, 102121.
    doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2021.102121PMID:34801784
  6. Editorial overview: Multifaceted dynamics and countless shades of green chromatin. Gehring, M, Roudier, F. 2021. Curr Opin Plant Biol 61, 102079.
    doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2021.102079PMID:34158157
  7. Transcriptional and imprinting complexity in Arabidopsis seeds at single-nucleus resolution. Picard, CL, Povilus, RA, Williams, BP, Gehring, M. 2021. Nat Plants 7, 730-738.
    doi: 10.1038/s41477-021-00922-0PMID:34059805
  8. Principles of Epigenetic Homeostasis Shared Between Flowering Plants and Mammals. Williams, BP, Gehring, M. 2020. Trends Genet 36, 751-763.
    doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2020.06.019PMID:32711945
  9. Water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) genome reveals variable genomic signatures of ancient vascular cambium losses. Povilus, RA, DaCosta, JM, Grassa, C, Satyaki, PRV, Moeglein, M, Jaenisch, J, Xi, Z, Mathews, S, Gehring, M, Davis, CC et al.. 2020. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117, 8649-8656.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1922873117PMID:32234787
  10. Identification and Comparison of Imprinted Genes Across Plant Species. Picard, CL, Gehring, M. 2020. Methods Mol Biol 2093, 173-201.
    doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0179-2_13PMID:32088897
More Publications



Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute