Our lab investigates the impact and mechanisms whereby stress affects brain function and cognition, with a focus on learning and memory processes, social behaviors and psychiatric disorders - such as anxiety, depression and pathological aggression. Over the past years, we have worked on the development of an integrative overview of how stress impacts learning and memory and characterized key mediating mechanisms (glucocorticoids, cell adhesion molecules, glutamate receptors). We have also identified key mechanisms connecting stress and psychopathology, and studied the modulatory role of anxiety trait. Currently, our lab focuses efforts in the understanding of how stress affects the social brain. Since stress is an important modulator of brain structure and function, one research line in the lab studies the involvement of synapse-associated cell adhesion molecules (neuroligins, nectins) in the mechanisms that translate stress effects on altered social behaviors. We are also interested in identifying the mechanisms that lead from early life exposure to traumatic stress to the development of violent behaviors, including changes in neurodevelopmental trajectories and epigenetic mechanisms involved in epigenetic transmission. Another main project in the lab addresses the impact of stress and anxiety trait in the development of social hierarchies, with a focus on the role of social neuropeptides (oxytocin and vasopressin), the mesolimbic system, and cellular metabolism. These animal studies are currently being complemented by approaches in humans in the emerging field of behavioral and neural economics.
Professor, Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.
BS MS Salamanca, Spain, 1984
PhD Cajal Institute, CSIC, and University Autonoma of Madrid, Spain, 1988
Postdoc at INSERM, Bordeaux, France, and Cajal Institute Madrid, Spain, 1989-1990
Postdoc at the Open University, UK, 1991-1992, 1996
Research Associate, Cajal Institute, CSIC, Madrid, 1993-1995
Associate Professor Tenured, UNED University, Madrid, 1996-2003
Sabbatical Professor, University of Bern, Switzerland, 2002-2003
Assistant Professor Tenure-Track, EPFL, 2003-2007
Associate Professor Tenured, EPFL, 2007-2012
Full Professor, EPFL, 2012-
Director, Brain Mind Institute, EPFL, 2012-
President, European Brain and Behavior Society (EBBS), 2009-2012
Editor-in-Chief Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Member of Scientific Advisory Panel, European College Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
Member of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB)
Associate Editor Frontiers in Neuroscience
Editorial Board Member Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Editorial Board Member Journal of Psychiatry Research
Editorial Board Member Stress
Editorial Board Member Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Editorial Board Member Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Teaching & PhD
- Life Sciences Engineering,
- Doctoral Program in Neuroscience
Past PhD StudentsBisaz Reto ...
Brionne Thomas ...
Castro Cifuentes Jorge Eduardo ...
Huzard Damien Sébastien ...
Lattion Aurélie ...
Loued-Khenissi Leyla ...
Lozano Montes Laura ...
Luksys Gediminas ...
Markram Kamila ...
Salehi Basira ...
Strasser Alina Veronika Irene ...
Timmer Marjan ...
Tzanoulinou Stamatina ...
Veenit Vandana ...
Walker Sophie Elizabeth ...
The goal is to guide students into the essential topics of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. The challenge for the student in this course is to integrate the diverse knowledge acquired from those levels of analysis into a more or less coherent unders...
The goal is to learn to analyze a paper critically, asking whether the data presented support the conclusions that are drawn. The analysis is presented in the form of a summary abstract and critical, constructive referee's report.