Bert Boyer

Bert Boyer, PhD NPOD EAC


Director, Center for Alaska Native Health Research, Professor of Molecular Biology

Department of Biology and Wildlife
University of Alaska Fairbanks
311 Irving I Building
Fairbanks, AK 99775

Phone: 907.474.7733  |  Email:

External Website:

Research Interests: 

Dr. Boyer’s research group is broadly interested in genetic and environmental risk and protective factors related to obesity and diabetes in Yup'ik people from Southwest Alaska. For the past decade, Dr. Boyer and colleagues have been working with Yup’ik people developing a longitudinal study involving ~1,700 Yup'ik people in 11 communities in rural southwest Alaska using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework. They have found obesity prevalence equal to that in the general U.S. population, but although obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for diabetes, type 2 diabetes incidence 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 activity and a traditional subsistence diet in prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes, by obtaining refined measures of physical activity using combined heart rate/movement monitors and assessing diet using Yup'ik-specific food frequency questionnaires as well as dietary biomarkers.

In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Washington, Dr. Boyer is also involved in a pharmacogenetics network grant to investigate gene-by-environment interactions related to warfarin drug safety and efficacy. In all of our research efforts, Dr. Boyer continues to work towards the development of culturally appropriate dissemination strategies to return the full continuum of research results to participants. All projects involve CBPR approaches that include consultation with community partners and Yup'ik leaders.