Andrew Matus

Andrew Matus

Molecular mechanisms of neuronal plasticity

April 28, 2021: Obituary Andrew Matus (1942-2021)
It is with great sadness that we learned that Andrew Matus passed away on April 26 after a short illness, at the age of 79. Andrew was a group leader at the FMI for nearly 30 years and Titular Professor at the University of Basel. He made pioneering contributions to the field of neurobiology and was instrumental in shaping today’s international visibility of the FMI in the study of neuronal circuits.
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Molecular mechanisms of neuronal plasticity
During my time as research group leader in Neurobiology at the Friedrich Miescher Institute my laboratory investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity in neuronal circuits of the brain.

We concentrated on understanding the dynamic activity of cytoskeletal filaments, primarily actin-based microfilaments and tubulin-based microtubules. This led us to the discovery that dendritic spines, tiny protrusions that form the contact sites for some 90% of brain synapses, are the primary sites of plasticity.

As a member of the Institute's emeritus community I continue to enjoy the FMI's unique, multi-national environment and excellent science through our active seminar program and continued contact with younger colleagues.

PhD students

Andreas Birbach (2000-2005)
Virginie Biou (1998-2004)
Manuel Ackermann (1999-2003)
Martijn Roelandse (1999-2003)
Robert Hartel (1994-1998)
Anibal Cravchic (1989-1994)
Brigitte Weisshaar (1989-1992)
Nicholas Sartor (1988-1990)
Christopher Viereck (1986-1990)
Bernhard Brugg (1985-1988)
Gerda Huber (1983-1985)
Jacques Maeder (1979-1983)

Postdoctoral fellows

Martin Verkuyl (2003-2007)
Pingwei Zhao (1999-2004)
Ina Bruenig-Traebert (2002-2004)
Isabelle Boquet (2001-2002)
Arkadiusz Welman (2002)
Uta Wagner (1997-2000)
Beat Ludin (1992-1999)
Maria Fischer (1998-1999)
Dong Liu (1997-1999)
Kathryn Mary Marsden (1994-1997)
Geza Adam (1993-1996)
Kevin Ashbridge (1991-1994)
Benoît Chatrenet (1993-1994)
Karl E. Burgin (1991-1993)
Martine Meichsner (1991-1993)
Brigitte Weisshaar (1992-1993)
Kathryn J. Edson (1991-1992)
Bernhard Brugg (1989-1991)
Ronald E. Layden (1989-1991)
David Reddy (1989-1991)
Lindsay Ham (1989-1990)
Anastasia Papandrikopoulou (1988-1990)
Richard Tucker (1986-1990)
Craig C. Garner (1985-1988)
Gerda Huber (1985-1988)
Fiona Gruninger-Leitch (1986-1987)
Graham Fagg (1982-1986)
Claude-Francois Beranek (1984-1985)
Rolf Bodmer (1983-1984)
Beat Riederer (1982-1984)
Peter Dollenmeier (1982-1983)
Lawrence R. Finger (1981-1982)
Richard B. Hawkes (1979-1981)
Mee Lian Ng (1979-1981)

Technical/Research associates

Heike Brinkhaus (1998-2007)
Urs Mueller (2001-2007)
Caroline Bornmann (2000-2001)
Stefanie Kaech (1994-1999)
Thierry Doll (1986-1998)
Jacqueline Ferralli (1992-1996)
Lynne Farmer (1985-1990)
Jacqueline Baud (1985-1986)
Marcel Ackermann (1978-1984)
Danielle Alaimo-Beuret (1981-1984)
Elisabeth Peter (1982-1984)
Gundula Pehling (1978-1982)


Christian Mueller (2005-2006)
Reto Zwahlen (2005)
Emmanuelle Landmann (2004)
Rebecca Kaufman (2002-2003)
Pauline Loriette (2003)
Shirley Murphy (2001-2002)
Matthew Wylie (2000-2001)
Urs Breu (2000)
Iwona Ksiazek (1999)
Hema Parmar (1998-1999)
Darko Knutti (1996-1998)
Ursula Funfschilling (1994-1996)
Michael Linss (1996)
Barbara Majewska (1995-1996)
Adrian Tombling (1993)
Robert Bernhardt (1980-1982)
Therese Piquet-Gauthier (1981)

Visiting scientists

Jan Siemens (2004)
Dominique Bigot (1990)
Rochelle Cohen (1990)
Rochelle Cohen (1987)
Shin Kwak (1986-1987)
Rosaleen Calvert (1985)
Takao Hamakubo (1984-1985)
Marjorie A. Ariano (1980)


PhD, University College, London
MSc, Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand
BSc, Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand

Positions held

Titular Professor, University of Basel, Basel
Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Lecturer in Anatomy, University College, London
Lecturer in Biochemistry, Institute of Psychiatry, Kingís College, London
Research Fellow University College, London


PhD honoris causa, University of Stockholm, Stockholm
Visiting Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford
Swammerdam lecture, Research School of Neurosciences, Amsterdam
The Bruno Cecarelli Lecture, Universita' San Raffaele, Milan
Meynert-Rothschild Visiting Professor, Institut Curie, Paris
Wenner-Gren Lecturer, University of Stockholm, Stockholm
Distinguished Visiting Scientist, The Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Gian-Tondury Prize of the Swiss Society for Experimental Biology