Headshot photo of Bert Boyer, Ph.D.

Bert Boyer, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine
  • Bob and Charlee Moore Endowed Professor
  • Director, Alaska Native Health Research
  • OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, School of Medicine


Dr. Boyer’s research group is broadly interested in genomic, epigenomic and environmental risk and protective factors related to obesity and diabetes in Yup'ik Alaska Native people from Southwest Alaska. For the past 15 years, Dr. Boyer and colleagues have been working in rural Alaska developing a longitudinal study involving ~2,000 Yup'ik people in 11 communities using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework. They found obesity prevalence equal to that in the general U.S. population, however type 2 diabetes prevalence in the Yup’ik population is less than half that seen in the other areas of the U.S. To understand this better, Dr. Boyer and colleagues are investigating the roles of physical activity and a traditional subsistence diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids in prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Washington, Dr. Boyer is also involved in a pharmacogenomics program project grant to investigate gene-by-environment interactions related to warfarin drug safety and efficacy.

Dr. Boyer and colleagues continue to work towards the development of culturally appropriate strategies to return the full continuum of research results to participants. All projects adhere to a CBPR framework involving community partners and Yup'ik leaders.

Education and training

    • B.A., 1982, Texas Tech University
    • Ph.D., 1988, Louisiana State University Medical School
  • Fellowship

    • Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine (1988-92)


Selected publications

  • Grarup N, Moltke I, Andersen MK, Bjerregaard P, Larsen CVL, Dahl-Petersen IK, Jørsboe E, Tiwari HK, Hopkins SE, Wiener HW, Boyer BB, Linneberg A, Pedersen O, Jørgensen ME, Albrechtsen A, Hansen T. Identification of novel high-impact recessively inherited type 2 diabetes risk variants in Greenlandic I
  • Henderson L, Claw C, Woodahl E, Robinson R, Boyer B, Burke W, and Thummel K. P450 Pharmacogenetics in Indigenous North American Populations. 2018. 8, 9; doi:10.3390/jpm8010009. Journal of Personalized Medicine.
  • Koller KR, Flanagan CA, Day GE, Patten C, Umans JG, Austin MA, Hopkins SE, Raindl C and Boyer BB. High Tobacco Use Prevalence with Significant Regional and Sex Differences in Smokeless Tobacco Use among Western Alaska Native People: The WATCH Study. In Press. International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
  • Philip J, Ryman TK, Hopkins SE, O'Brien DM, Bersamin A, Pomeroy J, Thummel KE, Austin MA, Boyer BB, Dombrowski K. Bi-cultural dynamics for risk and protective factors for cardiometabolic health in an Alaska Native (Yup’ik) population. In press PLOS ONE.
  • Au NT, Ryman T, Rettie AE, Hopkins SE, Boyer BB, Black J, Philip J, Yracheta J, Fohner AE, Reyes M, Thornton TA, Austin MA, Thummel KE. Dietary Vitamin K and Association with Hepatic Vitamin K Status in a Yup’ik study population from Southwestern Alaska. In Press. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2018 Feb;62(3). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700746. Epub 2017 Dec 29.
  • Au NT, Reyes M, Black J, O’Brien D, Hopkins S, Boyer BB, Fohner A, Thornton T, Austin MA, Burke W, Yracheta J, Thummel KE, and Rettie AE.. Dietary and Genetic Influences on Hemostasis in a Yup’ik Alaska Native Population. PLOS ONE. 2017. 12(4):e0173616. Doi: 10.1371. PMID 28376131; PMCID PMC5380313.
  • Ryman TK, Boyer BB, Hopkins S, Philip J, Thompson B, Beresford SA, Thummel KE and Austin MA. Association between iq’mik smokeless tobacco use and cardiometabolic risk among Yup’ik Alaska Native People. 2017. Jan 24:1-15. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2017.1280136. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28116909 PMCID: PMC5796859 Ethnicity and Health.
  • Lemas DJ, Klimentidis YC, Aslibekyan S, Wiener HW, O'Brien DM, Hopkins SE, Stanhope KL, Havel PJ, Allison DB, Fernandez JR, Tiwari HK, Boyer BB. Polymorphisms in stearoyl CoA desaturase and sterol regulatory element binding protein interact with N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake to modify associations with anthropometric variables and metabolic phenotypes in Yup'ik people. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016 Jul 28. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600170. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27467133.
  • Aslibekyan S, Vaughan LK, Wiener HW, Hidalgo BA, Lemas DJ, O'Brien DM, Hopkins SE, Stanhope KL, Havel PJ, Thummel KE, Boyer BB, Tiwari HK. Linkage and association analysis of circulating vitamin D and parathyroid hormone identifies novel loci in Alaska Native Yup'ik people. Genes Nutr. 2016 Aug 2;11:23. doi:10.1186/s12263-016-0538-y. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 27579147; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4971612.
  • O'Brien DM, Thummel KE, Bulkow LR, Wang Z, Corbin B, Klejka J, Hopkins SE, Boyer BB, Hennessy TW, Singleton R. Declines in traditional marine food intake and vitamin D levels from the 1960s to present in young Alaska Native women. Public Health Nutr. 2016 Jul 28:1-8. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27465921.Declines in traditional marine food intake and vitamin D levels from the 1960s to present in young Alaska Native women. (in press) Public Health Nutr.


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