Memory aids on the chromatin ? Deciphering epigenetic mechanisms of memory storage and change


Event details

Date and time 21.01.2020 12:1513:15  
Place and room
Speaker Dr Johannes Graeff, SV / BMI / UPGRAEFF
Category Conferences - Seminars
Abstract :
My laboratory is interested in the cellular and molecular underpinnings of memory. To investigate these, we focus on neuroepigenetic processes and hypothesize that with their Janus-faced property of being at once dynamic and stable, epigenetic mechanisms harbor the potential to better explain memory formation, storage and loss. Of special interest in the lab are memory deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and particularly robust memories such as those occurring in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For the former, we have thus far revealed the first methylation quantitative trait locus (mQTL) in AD, and thereby identified a novel candidate gene – PM20D1 – that bestows neuroprotection. For the latter, we have delineated key brain areas and cellular subpopulations implicated in the attenuation of long-lasting traumatic memories, and thereby provided the first engram-specific evidence for memory updating that may underlie the treatment of PTSD. These achievements now enable the next level of investigation of PM20D1-related and engram-specific epigenetics essential for memory storage and change.

Short Bio :
Johannes Gräff is Assistant Professor on Tenure Track at the Brain Mind Institute of the School of Life Sciences at EPFL, Switzerland. Originally from St. Gallen, Switzerland, he obtained his M.Sc. from the University of Lausanne, his PhD under the guidance of Isabelle Mansuy at ETHZ, and conducted his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Li-Huei Tsai at the Picower Institute of Learning and Memory at MIT. In 2014, he has received the Young Investigator Award of the Swiss Society for Biological Psychiatry, and in 2020 the Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • School of the Life Sciences, SV


  • Dr H. Hirling, M. Mary