Connecting European Neuroscience

Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying brain disorders

8-14 December 2019 - Obergurgl, Austria











Brain disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases or fear-related disorders not only have a devastating impact on patients, caregivers, affected families and society as a whole, but also represent a formidable challenge for clinical and preclinical research alike. Over the past decade, it has become increasingly apparent that the risk for such brain disorders is not influenced by genetic predisposition alone, but also by an intricate interplay between genetics and the environment, the latter mediated by epigenetic modifications. In this FENS-Hertie Winter School, we will discuss the state-of-the art in both genetic and epigenetic research underpinning Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), two of the most prevalent brain disorders world-wide. In particular, we will highlight recent experimental approaches that merge genetic and epigenetic insights into AD and PTSD, which represents an important step forward. Finally, we will also critically cover the existing discrepancies between clinical and preclinical, i.e., animal research, and discuss possible approaches to bridge them.

This course is meant for PhD students and early-career postdocs, preferably with prior knowledge of the subject.

Scientific chairs

Johannes Gräff
Brain Mind Institute, School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL),
  Dominique de Quervain
Faculty of Psychology,
Faculty of Medicine, Psychiatric University Clinics,
University of Basel,

Faculty members

Elisabeth Binder, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Germany
Gene Bowman, Harvard Medical School, USA
Philip de Jager, Columbia University, USA
Andre Fischer, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, Germany
Jerome Mertens, Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Carolyne Nievergelt, University of California San Diego, USA
Andreas Papassotiropoulos, University of Basel, Switzerland
Tinca JC Polderman, Dept. Complex Trait Genetics (CTG),  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Anne Schaefer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai , USA
Nicolas Singewald, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Registration and stipends

  • Fee: FENS Members: 495 EUR
             FENS Non-members: 575 EUR
  • Registration fee covers tuition, accommodation and meals.
  • FENS offers 4 stipends (covering the registration fee) available for candidates from disadvantaged countries. Any applicant in need of a grant should however first try to request it from the lab, institution or government if possible. You can apply for a stipend inside the application form. 
  • Please note that if you already benefited from a FENS grant in 2019, you are not eligible to receive a stipend.
  • Applications are closed.


Universitätszentrum Obergurgl, Austria











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