Bertarelli Symposium 2017

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Johannes Gräff

Johannes Gräff is Tenure Track Assistant Professor at EPFL’s Brain Mind Institute. His lab is 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, his lab focuses on the emerging field of neuroepigenetics. "Epi-genetic" mechanisms, i.e. modifications to the chromatin that regulate gene expression without changing the DNA sequence itself, 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, the lab believes that 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.