Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics

Isabelle Mansuy is Professor in Neuroepigenetics at the Medical Faculty of the University Zürich (UZH), and the Department of Health Science and Technology of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ). Her lab is part of the Center for Neuroscience Zürich. She completed a PhD in Developmental Neurobiology at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland and the Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg, France, then a postdoctoral training in the lab of Eric Kandel at the Center for Learning and Memory at Columbia University in New York. She was appointed Assistant Professor in Neurobiology at the ETHZ in Dec 1998 then Associate Professor in Molecular Cognition at UZH and ETHZ in 2005 and Full Professor in Neuroepigenetics in 2013. Isabelle Mansuy`s research examines the epigenetic basis of complex brain functions in mammals and focuses in particular, on the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance. The goal is to determine the processes underlying the influence of life experiences on mental and physical health across generations. This work recently demonstrated that early trauma in mice induces behavioural and metabolic alterations and that these alterations are transmitted across several generations through the germline. It identified epigenetic factors involving DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs as mediators of the expression and the transmission of symptoms. Previous work in her lab also examined the epigenetic basis of cognitive functions and discovered the existence of molecular suppressors of learning and memory in the adult mouse brain. It identified the Ser/Thr protein phosphatases calcineurin and PP1 as such suppressors and revealed their role in chromatin remodeling in the adult brain, and in the epigenetic control of memory formation and synaptic plasticity. It also demonstrated their implication in cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration. Isabelle Mansuy’s research is conceptually and technically original and innovative, and the lab is pioneer in the field of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, a discipline at the forefront of a paradigm shift in genetics. This research is pluridisciplinary and combines environmentally- and genetically-modified animal models, -omics technologies, epigenetic methods, behavioral testing, bioinformatics, electrophysiology and imaging. The lab is also conducting collaborative studies in trauma patients with several psychiatric clinics in Europe to assess the relevance of its findings in mice for humans.

Isabelle Mansuy is member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Science, the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC), the Research Council of the Swiss National Foundation, of the Research Council of the Fyssen Foundation and of EMBO, and is elected Knight of the Legion of Honour in France after being elected Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite in 2011. She is acting in multiple review boards including the European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, CNRS, etc. She is chief co-editor of BioMolecular Concepts, and member of the editorial board of Hippocampus, Neurobiology of Diseases, Frontiers in Behavioral Neurosciences, Biology of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and Frontiers in Epigenomics. She co-authored several reviews and books in the field of molecular cognition and neuroepigenetics.