Connecting European Neuroscience

Johannes Graff

Programme Committee Member FENS Forum 2018

Curriculum Vitae

Nov. 2013- Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, School of Life Sciences, Brain Mind Institute.

2009-2013 Postdoctoral fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

2009 Postdoctoral associate, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), Zürich, Switzerland, Department of Biology, Brain Research Institute.

2005-2009 PhD student Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), Zürich, Switzerland, Department of Biology, Brain Research Institute.

2009 PhD in Neurosciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), Zürich, Switzerland, Department of Biology, Brain Research Institute.

2005 Diploma (M. Sc. equivalent) in Biological Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Department of Ecology and Evolution.

2003-2004 Exchange year, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology. 1998 Matura, Gymnasium Type B, Kantonsschule am Burggraben St. Gallen, Switzerland. 

Honours and awards

2017-2018 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant

2016-2020 ERC Starting Grant 2016-2018 MQ fellow

2016-2017 Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Grant

2015-2018 SYNAPSIS Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease, Project Funding

2015-2018 Beatrice Ederer-Weber Foundation, Project Funding

2014-2018 National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) “SYNAPSY”

2014-2017 Swiss National Science Foundation, Project Funding

2014-2016 Floshield Foundation, Project Funding

2014-2015 Dragon Blue Foundation, Project Funding

2014 Young Investigator Award, Swiss Society for Biological Psychiatry

2013 MIT School of Science Infinite K Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2010-2013 Bard Richmond Research Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2011 Keystone Scholarship, Keystone Symposia

2009-2010 Fellowship for Prospective Researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation

2009 Travel Grant, Swiss Society of Neuroscience. 

General administrative and organisational experience

Organisation of international meetings:

2016: Co-organizer of the FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence Social at SfN 2016, San Diego, CA, USA

2016: Co-Organizer of the EPFL-BMI Symposium on BRAIN BIOENERGETICS


Public awareness events:

2016: Public talk at Université Populaire Annemasse-Genevois, Annemasse, France

2016: Public talk at University of Basel during the country-wide "Brain Awareness Week"

2016: Public talk at University of Geneva during the country-wide "Brain Awareness Week"

2016: Public talk at EPFL during the Open Doors Days Responsibilities as officer of societies

2015-2018: Executive Committee of the European Brain and Behaviour Society (EBBS)

2015-2018: Founding Member, FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence (FKNE)

2014-current: Scientific Advisory Board of EPFL’s International Food and Nutrition Center. 

Rsearch interests

I'm interested in three main questions. How and where are long-term memories stored in the brain? Why are memories lost during neurodegeneration such as in Alzheimer's Disease? How can traumatic memories from the past be overcome? To answer these questions, my lab focuses on the emerging field of neuroepigenetics. Over the past decade, epigenetic mechanisms in the brain have not only been shown to react to fluctuating environmental contingencies, but also to encode the cell fate of neurons and other cell types during development. With this Janus-faced property of being at once dynamic and stable, epigenetic mechanisms harbor the potential to better explain the molecular processes that govern learning, memory and memory loss. In extension, because epigenetic mechanisms are also amenable to pharmacological intervention, they might constitute a novel angle on how to counteract memory loss and resilient traumatic memories. 

Selected publications

1 - Sanchez-Mut, J. V. and J. Gräff, 2015 “Epigenetic alterations in Alzheimer’s disease”. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, Article 347.

2 - Rei D., Mason X., Seo J., Gräff J., Rudenko A., Wang J., Rueda R., Siegert S., Cho S., Canter R. G., Mungenast A. E., Deisseroth K. and L. -H. Tsai, 2015 “Basolateral amygdala bidirectionally modulates stressinduced hippocampal learning and memory deficits through a p25/Cdk5-dependent pathway”. PNAS, 112, 7291-7296.

3 - Gräff J. *, Joseph N. F. *, Horn M. E., Meng J., Samiei A., Meng J., Seo J., Rei D., Bero A. W., Phan T. X., Wagner F., Holson E., Xu J., Sun J., Neve R. L., Mach R. H., Haggarty S. J., and L. -H. Tsai, 2014 “Epigenetic priming of memory updating during reconsolidation to attenuate remote fear memories”. Cell, 156, 261-276.

4 - Gräff J., Kahn M., Samiei A., Gao J., Ota K. T., Rei D., and L. -H. Tsai, 2013 “A Dietary Regimen of Caloric Restriction or Pharmacological Activation of SIRT1 to Delay the Onset of Neurodegeneration”. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 8951-60.

5 - Gräff J., and L. -H. Tsai, 2013 “Histone acetylation: Molecular mnemonics on the chromatin”. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14, 97-111.

6 - Gräff J., Rei D., Guan J. -S., Wang W. -Y., Seo J., Hennig K. M., Nieland T. J. F., Fass D. M., Kao P. F., Kahn M., Su S. C., Samiei A., Joseph N., Haggarty S. J., Delalle I., and L. -H. Tsai, 2012 “An epigenetic blockade of cognitive functions in the neurodegenerating brain”. Nature, 483, 222-226.

7 - Gräff J., Woldemichael B. T., Berchtold D., Dewarrat G., and I. M. Mansuy, 2012 “Dynamic epigenetic marks in the hippocampus and cortex promote memory consolidation” Nature Communications, 3: 991.

8 - Gräff J. *, Koshibu K. *, Jouvenceau A., Dutar P., and I. M. Mansuy, 2010 “Protein Phosphatase-1 Dependent Transcriptional Programs for Long-Term Memory”. Learning and Memory, 17, 355-363.

9 - Franklin T. *, Russig H. *, Weiss I. C., Vizi S., Gräff J., Linder N., Michalon A., and I. M. Mansuy 2010, “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of behavioral alterations induced by early stress”. Biological Psychiatry, 68, 406-415.

10 - Koshibu K. *, Gräff J. *, Beullens M., Heitz F., Berchtold D., Russig H., Farinelli M., Bollen M., and I. M. Mansuy, 2009 “Protein Phosphatase-1 Regulates the Histone Code for Long-term Memory”. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 13079-13089. 

Johannes Graff

Tenure-track assistant professor at the Brain Mind Institute of the School of Life Sciences at Ecole Polytechnique
Fédérale Lausanne (EPFL)
Full address:
Bâtiment AI 2137.1
Station 19
CH-1015 Lausanne