Université de Genève

Neuroscience center

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Group leader: Alain Malafosse

Group name: Psychiatry Genetics Unit

Affiliation: Psychiatry

Research activities:

Our main interest is to understand how genes modulates the effect of stressful life events in psychiatric disorders, such as affective disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, autism and suicidal behaviour. We combine clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimagery and neurophysiological methods aiming at better defining the sub-phenotypes to study. We use different molecular genetics techniques to identify gene and gene expression variations and their differences between patients and controls. We are also interested in understanding how these variations are correlated to proteins levels and localisation in human brain. Finally we aim at translating data obtained in this field in clinical setting, i.e. how improving treatment and genetic counselling.

The genetic bases of Mendelian epilepsies are our second main theme of research. We study rare forms of familial idiopathic or cryptogenic epilepsies by using positional cloning methods. We identified genes involved in such kind of epilepsies, and help clinicians in characterizing epileptic syndromes by searching mutations in these genes. We are also interested in identifying genes that increase the risk of developing temporal lobe epilepsy following complex febrile seizures.

Selected Publications:

  • Karege F, Perroud N, Burkhardt S, Schwald M, Ballmann E, Malafosse A. Alteration in kinase activity, but not in protein levels of Akt and GSK-3B in ventral prefrontal cortex of depressed suicide victims. Biol Psychiatry, 2007, 61(2):240-245.
  • Jollant F, Bellivier F, Leboyer M, Astruc B, Torres S, Verdier R, Castelnau D, Malafosse A, Courtet P. Impaired decision-making in suicide attempters. Am J Psychiatry, 2005, 162(2):304-310.
  • Courtet P, Abbar M, Leboyer M, Boulenger JP, Castelnau D, Coutant-Zimmerli S, Paoloni-Giacobino A, Vessaz M, Malafosse A, Buresi C. Suicidality and tryptophan hydroxylase gene. Mol Psychiatry, 2001, 6(3), 268-273.

Service de médecine génétique
Hôpital Belle Idée
Email: Alain (dot) Malafosse (at) hcuge (dot) ch