Nady El Hajj | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Nady El Hajj

Dr. Nady El Hajj (PhD)

Assistant Professor
College of Health and Life Sciences

  • Phone+974 44548041
  • Office locationB142, LAS Building


Dr. Nady El Hajj graduated in biology from the American University of Beirut in 2007 and received his PhD from the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Würzburg in 2011. His dissertation work investigated the epigenetic risks of assisted reproductive technologies and infertility on germ cells and embryos. During his postdoctoral training at the lab of Thomas Haaf, he focused on identifying whether maternal gestational diabetes during pregnancy causes epigenetic alterations in the developing fetus. In addition, he was involved in studying paternal age effects on germ cells and the offspring of older fathers from an epigenetic perspective. In 2017, he joined Baylor College of Medicine on a fellowship supported by the German research foundation where he performed bioinformatics analysis on whole genome bisulfite sequencing data to understand interindividual DNA methylation variation in humans. His research is published in > 40 peer-reviewed articles and has been cited more than 1100 times.


Research Interests

Epigenetic information in form of histone modifications and DNA methylation has an important role in regulating gene expression. Such epigenetic changes are maintained in daughter cells after mitotic cell division. It is well known that the epigenome is highly plastic, particularly during early development and susceptible to internal genetic signals and to external environmental cues. Studies in monozygotic twins have revealed increase in DNA methylation variation during aging, which may contribute to their phenotypic discordance. A subset of sites in the genome is susceptible to age-related DNA methylation changes in somatic tissues and, to some extent, even in germ cells. The accumulation of stochastic and environmentally induced epigenetic changes over time may contribute significantly to the age-related manifestation of complex disease.

  • Study DNA methylation and expression changes in the premature aging disorder Werner Syndrome
  • Determine the effect of paternal aging on epimutations and de novo mutations in germ cells, and how they might contribute to increased disease risk in offspring of older fathers
  • Establishing single nucleus RNA-seq and DNA methylation methodologies to determine the effect of aging on gene expression and DNA methylation within myotube nuclei


Research Associate

Department of Pediatrics; Baylor College of Medicine, United States

2017 - 2018
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Institute of Human Genetics; University of Würzburg, Germany

    2011 - 2017



University of Würzburg; Würzburg/Germany

  • M.Sc.

    American University of Beirut; Beirut/Lebanon


Selected Publications

  • Epigenetic dysregulation of protocadherins in human disease

    Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology; 2017 Sep; 69:172-182

    El Hajj N, Dittrich M, Haaf T

  • DNA methylation signatures in cord blood of ICSI children

    Human Reproduction; 2017 Aug 1;32(8):1761-1769

    El Hajj N, Haertle L, Dittrich M, Denk S, Lehnen H, Hahn T, Schorsch M, Haaf T

  • Paternal age effects on sperm FOXK1 and KCNA7 methylation and transmission into the next generation

    Human Molecular Genetics; 2016 Nov 15;25(22):4996-5005

    Atsem S, Reichenbach J, Potabattula R, Dittrich M, Nava C, Depienne C, Böhm L, Rost S, Hahn T, Schorsch M, Haaf T, El Hajj N.

  • Epigenetic dysregulation in the developing Down syndrome cortex

    Epigenetics; 2016 Aug 2;11(8):563-78

    El Hajj N, Dittrich M, Böck J, Kraus TF, Nanda I, Müller T, Seidmann L, Tralau T, Galetzka D, Schneider E, Haaf T

  • Epigenetics and life-long consequences of an adverse nutritional and diabetic intrauterine environment

    Reproduction; 2014 Dec;148(6):R111-20

    El Hajj N, Schneider E, Lehnen H, Haaf T.

  • De novo mutations in HCN1 cause early infantile epileptic encephalopathy

    Nature Genetics; 2014 Jun;46(6):640-5

    Nava C, Dalle C, Rastetter A, Striano P, de Kovel CG, Nabbout R, Cancès C, Ville D, Brilstra EH, Gobbi G, Raffo E, Bouteiller D, Marie Y, Trouillard O, Robbiano A, Keren B, Agher D, Roze E, Lesage S, Nicolas A, Brice A, Baulac M, Vogt C, El Hajj N, Schneider E, Suls A, Weckhuysen S, Gormley P, Lehesjoki AE, De Jonghe P, Helbig I, Baulac S, Zara F, Koeleman BP; EuroEPINOMICS RES Consortium, Haaf T, LeGuern E, Depienne C

  • Metabolic programming of MEST DNA methylation by intrauterine exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus

    Diabetes; 2013 Apr;62(4):1320-8

    El Hajj N, Pliushch G, Schneider E, Dittrich M, Müller T, Korenkov M, Aretz M, Zechner U, Lehnen H, Haaf T

  • Limiting dilution bisulfite (pyro)sequencing reveals parent-specific methylation patterns in single early mouse embryos and bovine oocytes

    Epigenetics; 2011 Oct 1;6(10):1176-88

    El Hajj N, Trapphoff T, Linke M, May A, Hansmann T, Kuhtz J, Reifenberg K, Heinzmann J, Niemann H, Daser A, Eichenlaub-Ritter U, Zechner U, Haaf T

  • Spatial, temporal and interindividual epigenetic variation of functionally important DNA methylation patterns

    Nucleic Acids Res; 2010 Jul;38(12):3880-90

    Schneider E, Pliushch G, El Hajj N, Galetzka D, Puhl A, Schorsch M, Frauenknecht K, Riepert T, Tresch A, Müller AM, Coerdt W, Zechner U, Haaf T