Connecting European Neuroscience

Carmen Sandi

President (2018-2020)
Past President (2020-2022)

Curriculum Vitae


Professional and academic career

2018 - : Co-director of the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research Synapsy

2012-2018 Director of the Brain Mind Institute, EPFL

Full Professor, EPFL; Director Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics

2007-2012 Associate Professor, EPFL; Director Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics

2003-2007 Assistant Professor Tenure-Track, EPFL; Director Lab. Behavioral Genetics

2002-2003 Sabbatical Professor, University of Bern, Switzerland

1996-2003 Associate Professor, UNED University, Madrid, Spain

1993-1995 Research Associate, Cajal Institute, CSIC, Madrid, Spain

1991-1992 Postdoctoral fellow, Open University, UK

1989-1990 Postdoctoral fellow, Cajal Institute & University of Bordeaux, France

1985-1988 PhD student, Cajal Institute, CSIC, Madrid.


Honours and awards

Visiting Professor, Rockefeller University, New York, 2016

Valkhof Chair, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, 2015

Distinguished Visiting Scientist Fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2015

Society for Social Neuroscience (SS4N), Inaugural Fellow, 2015

Behavioral Brain Research Prize, EBBS-Elsevier, 2014

Faculty of 1000, Section Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty member, 2012

Latsis Foundation award EPFL-Latsis Symposium, 2009

Visiting Professor, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 1999

Serono Research Prize, 1984.


General administrative and organisational experience

Editorial Activities

Editor-in-Chief: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2007-2015)

Associate/Review Editor: European Journal of Neuroscience (2008-2009), eNeuro (2014-)

Editorial Board: Neurobiol Learn Mem, J Psychiatry Res, Neurosci & Biobehav Rev, Curr Op Behav Sci; Neurobiol Stress.

Conference Organization

President Program Committee, The Brain Forum, 2016

Brain Bioenergetics: From Behavior to Pathology, 2016

Mechanisms of Memory Consolidation, Reconsolidation and Extinction, 2015

Reward, motivation and Dopamine, 2015

Stress and social economic decision making, 2014

Frontiers in stress and cognition: From molecules to behavior, Ascona, 2012

Molecular mechanisms linking stress and mental health, 2012

Stress, the Social Brain, and Psychopathology, 2011

Understanding Violence, Latsis, 2009

Satellite to FENS “Synaptic Cell Adhesion Molecules”, Villars-sur-Ollon, 2008

Satellite to EBBS “Stress, Brain and Behavior”, Trieste, 2007.

Specific expertise: major organisational positions

Director, Brain Mind Institute, EPFL (2012-)

Editor-in-chief, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2007-15)

Steering committee, National Center for Competence Research “Synapsy” (2012-)

Fellows Committee, MQ Transforming Mental HealtH (2014-)

President, European Brain and Behavior Society (EBBS; 2009-11)

Coordinator, FP7 EU Project MemStick (2008-11)

Board of Governors, EU Project Promemoria (2005-09)

SAB member: Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg (2010-) ; BRAIN LabEX, Bordeaux Neuroscience

(2013-); Institut du Fer a Moulin, Paris (2016-)

Grant panels member, including ERC Consolidator Panel (2010-15)

Executive council member: EBBS (1998-02) ; Swiss Society for Neuroscience (2007-11) ; FENS Governing Council

(2009-11); European Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society (EMCCS) (2015-)

Member of Program Committees: FENS (2008, 2015) ; EBBS (2002; 2010) ; International Society for Neuroethology (2015-2016).


Research interests

My research aims at understanding the impact and mechanisms whereby stress affects brain function and behavior, including the induction of psychopathologies. Our work is particularly concerned with the identification of the neurobiological processes that determine individual differences in behavior and personality, with a current focus on coping and social behaviors. A special emphasis is placed on the role of brain bioenergetics in the regulation of behavior by stress and anxiety. Furthermore, we are investigating the mechanisms whereby early life stress and genetically-induced alterations in neuroplasticity enhance the risk to develop psychopathologies, such as depression and pathological aggression.

Although the core of our work is carried out in rodents, we are currently translating our findings to humans using behavioral economics, experimental psychology (eye-tracking, computer-based tests), virtual reality, and physiological and neuroimaging approaches.


Selected Publications

1. Hollis F., van der Kooij M. A., Zanoletti O., Lozano L., Cantó C. and Sandi C. (2015) Mitochondrial function in the brain links anxiety with social subordination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112: 15486-15491.

2. Sandi C. and Haller J. (2015) Stress and the social brain: behavioral effects and neurobiological mechanisms. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 16:290-304.

3. van der Kooij M. A., Fantin M., Rejmak E., Grosse J., Zanoletti O., Fournier C., Ganguly K., Kalita K., Kaczmarek, and Sandi C. (2014) Role for MMP-9 in stress-induced down-regulation of nectin-3 in hippocampal CA1 and associated behavioral alterations. Nature Communications 5:4995. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5995.

4. Marquez C., Poirier G., Cordero M. I., Larsen M. H, Groner A., Marquis J., Magistretti P., Trono D. and Sandi C. (2013) Peripuberty stress leads to abnormal aggression, altered amygdala and orbitofrontal reactivity and increased prefrontal MAOA gene expression. Translational Psychiatry 3:e216. doi: 10.1038/tp. 2012.144.

5. Conboy L., Varea E., Castro J. E., Sakouhi-Ouertatani H., Calandra T., Lashuel H. and Sandi C. (2011) Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is critically involved in basal and fluoxetine-stimulated adult hippocampal cell proliferation and in anxiety, depression and memory related behaviours. Molecular Psychiatry 16: 533-547.

6. Sandi C. (2011) Healing anxiety disorders with glucocorticoids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 6343-6344.

7. Luksys G., Gerstner W., and Sandi C. (2009) Stress, genotype and norepinephrine in prediction of mouse behavior using reinforcement learning. Nature Neuroscience 12: 1180-1186.

8. Sandi C. and Richter-Levin G. (2009) From high anxiety trait to depression: A neurocognitive hypothesis. Trends Neuroscience 32: 312-320.

9. Jakobsson J., Cordero M. I., Bisaz R., Groner A. C., Busskamp V., Bensadoun J. C., Cammas F., Losson R., Mansuy I. M., Sandi C. and Trono D. * (2008) KAP1-mediated epigenetic repression in the forebrain modulates behavioral vulnerability to stress. Neuron 60: 818-831.

10. Sandi C. (2004) Stress, cognitive impairment and cell adhesion molecules. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5: 917-930.


Carmen Sandi

Professor Carmen Sandi, PhD
Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics
Brain Mind Institute
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Station 19 - Office SV-2810
CH-1015 Lausanne