Eric Vilain

Eric Vilain

Professional affiliations: 

Director of Epidapo

Chief, Division of Medical Genetics

Professor, Human Genetic, Pediatrics and Urology

Member, Brain Research Institute


1996: David Smith Award, Western Society for Pediatric Research

2002: Basil O'Connor Award, March of Dimes

2008: Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

201: E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research

2011: Host, International Academy of Sex Research Conference, UCLA School of Medicine

Employer name: 
Human Genetics
Brief biography: 

Eric Vilain, M.D., Ph.D., was born in Paris, France, and earned his M.D. from the Paris Children’s Hospital Necker, his Ph.D. from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is Professor of Human Genetics, Pediatrics and Urology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the Chief of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics and the Director of the Center for Gender-Based Biology. He is also the director of an international research Unit, “Epigenetics, Data, Politics”, cosponsored by UCLA and the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) tackling issues of genes-environment interactions in the context of society and politics. His laboratory explores the genetics of sexual development, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of gonad development, as well as on the genetic determinants of brain sexual differentiation. He has identified a large number of mutations in sex-determining genes, developed animal models with atypical sexual development, and identified genes differentially expressed between male and female fetal mouse brains. He currently works at three projects: the genetics of Disorders of Sex Development (intersexuality), the genetics of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the biological bases of sex differences in susceptibility to diseases. His research program has been continuously supported by several grants from the NIH, and he has published extensively in the field of sexual development. He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics, and a member of numerous professional committees, including those related to the care of intersex individuals. He serves as an advisor to the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission. His research involves several disciplines (genetics, neuroscience, psychology) and has numerous societal implications.

Office address: 

UCLA Department of Human Genetics
Gonda Center, Room 5506
695 Charles Young Drive South
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7088

+1 310 267-2455
+ 310 206-6581
Selected Publications:
Caburet S,  Arboleda, VA, Llano, E,. Overbeek PA, Barbero, Oka K, Harrison W, Vaiman, D, Ben-Neriah Z, García-Tuñón I, Fellous, M, Pendás, AM, Veitia, RA, Vilain E. Mutant Cohesin in Premature Ovarian Failure. New Engl J Med, 2014, 370:943-949. PMCID: PMC4068824
Mutations in the PCNA-binding domain of CDKN1C cause IMAGe syndrome. Arboleda VA, Lee H, Parnaik R, Fleming A, Banerjee A, Ferraz-de-Souza B, Délot EC, Rodriguez-Fernandez IA, Braslavsky D, Bergadá I, Dell'angelica EC, Nelson SF, Martinez-Agosto JA, Achermann JC, Vilain E. Nat Genet. 2012, 44:788-792. PMCID: PMC3386373
Epigenetic predictor of age. Bocklandt S, Lin W, Sehl ME, Sánchez FJ, Sinsheimer JS, Horvath S, Vilain E. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e14821. PMCID:  PMC3120753
Nikolova G, Sinsheimer J, Eicher E, Vilain E.  The chromosome 11 region from strain 129 provides protection from sex reversal in XYPOS mice. Genetics, 179:419-427, 2008. PMCID: PMC2390620
Dewing P, Chiang C, Sinchak K, Sim H, Chesselet MF, Micevych P, Harley V, Vilain E.  Direct Regulation of Adult Brain Function by the Male-Specific Factor SRY.  Current Biology, 16(4):415-420, 2006. PMID: 16488877
Bocklandt S, Horvath S, Vilain E, Hamer DH.  Extreme skewing of X chromosome inactivation in mothers of homosexual men.  Human Genetics, 118(6):691-694, 2006. PMID: 16369763
Nikolova G., and Vilain V.  Mechanisms of Disease: Transcription Factors in Sex Determination—relevance to human disorders of sex development.  Nature, Clinical Practice Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2(4):231-238, 2006. PMID: 16932288
Jordan BK, Shen JHC, Olaso R, Ingraham HA, Vilain E. Wnt-4 overexpression disrupts normal testicular vasculature and inhibits testosterone synthesis by repressing steroidogenic factor 1/ß-catenin synergy. Proc. Natl Acad Sci, USA, 100(19):10866-10871, 2003. PMID: 12949260
Dewing P, Tao S, Horvath S, Vilain E. Sexually dimorphic gene expression in mouse brain precedes gonadal differentiation. Mol. Brain Res., 118:82-90, 2003. PMID: 14559357
Vilain E, Lefiblec B, Morichon-Delvallez N, Brauner R, Dommergues M, Dumez Y, Jaubert F, Boucekkine C, McElreavey K, Vekemans M, Fellous M. SRY-negative XX fetus with complete male phenotype. Lancet  343: 240-241, 1994. PMID: 7904700