Professor Carmen Sandi The Brain Mind Institute at EPFL Lausanne, Laboratory of Behavorial Genetics – The Brain Mind Institute Lausanne


Behavorial Genetics

  • The Brain Mind Institute at EPFL Lausanne, Laboratory of Behavorial Genetics
  • [email protected]
  • +41 (0)21 693 9534
  • +41 (0)21 693 9636
  • Switzerland

Team Lead

About Professor Carmen Sandi

My laboratory investigates mechanisms whereby stress and personality affect brain function and behavior, with a focus on the social domain and, particularly, on aggression and social hierarchies. Studies in rodents are currently also complemented with studies in humans. This are the specific research topics we study:
1. The impact of developmental stress on psychopathology. We investigate the effector pathways from stress to pathological aggression in an animal model that recapitulates the key features of a ‘cycle of violence’ induced by stress exposure, from the acquisition of a violent phenotype to its transmission to the next generation.
2. The role of synaptic cell adhesion molecules in stress effects on social behaviors, particularly the nectin and neuroligin families, in the social and cognitive abnormalities induced by stress.
3. Mechanisms linking altered neuroplasticity during development and pathological aggression. Using mouse models of impaired developmental neuroplasticity, we study mechanisms associated to alterations in amygdala activation and connectivity and critically linked to the emergence of aggressive and anti-social behaviors.
4. Neurobiological mechanisms of stress, anxiety and social hierarchies. We investigate the impact of trait anxiety on the hierarchy outcome of social encounters and focusing on mitochondrial function in the mesolimbic system

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Awards, Fellowships and Honours (Selection)

2014         Behavioral Brain Research Prize, EBBS-Elsevier
2013-        Scientific Advisory Board, BRAIN LabEX, Bordeaux Neuroscience
2012-        Faculty of 1000, Section Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty member
2012-        Steering committee member, National Center for Competence Research “Synapsy”
2012-        Roamer (Road Map for Mental Health in Europe), EU-Health, Panel member
2010         EU Coordinators Award, Swiss State Secretary for Education and Research
2010-        Board of Trustees, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg
2010-        Evaluation Panel for European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants
2010-        European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), Member
2009-11    President, European Brain and Behavior Society (EBBS)
2009-11    Federation of European Neurosciences (FENS) Governing Council
2009         Evaluation Panel, AERES, INSERM, Bordeaux
2009         Scientific Advisory Panel, Eur. Coll. Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
2008-11    Coordinator of FP7 EU Project MemStick (7 partners)
2008         Elected member of FENS Program Committee
2008         Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Evaluation Panel Member
2007         NIMH Panel on “Cognition and Stress”, Bethesda
2007         Evaluation Panel, AERES, Paris VI 2
2006-        Expert Collaborator, Center for Studies on Human Stress, Montreal
2005-09    Board of Governors of EU Project Promemoria
2002         Sabbatical Award granted by UNED
1999         Visiting Professor, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
1998-04    Program Committee EURESCO Conferences on Learning, ESF
1998-02    Executive Council, European Brain and Behavior Society
1985-88    Spanish Ministry of Education and Science Training Grant
1989-90    Spanish National Research Council Award
1991-92    Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology Award
1994         Serono Research Prize
1996         Visiting Scientist, Medical Research Council, OU, UK
1996         EU Pierre and Marie Curie Postdoctoral grant (declined)