Denis Monard

Denis Monard

Modulation of neural functions by extracellular serine proteases and their inhibitors

Our interest in extracellular proteolytic activity in the nervous system stems from our discovery and cloning of protease nexin-1 (PN-1), a potent serine protease inhibitor promoting neurite outgrowth in cultured neuronal cells. Neurite outgrowth occurs by prevention of thrombin activation of aprotease-activated cell surface receptor, which would cause their collapse. Mice lacking or over-expressing PN-1 in neurons are prone to seizure; epileptiform activity is seen in hippocampus slices. Long-term potentiation is enhanced in hippocampal slices from mice with increased PN-1 but reduced in mice lacking PN-1. A study of mice overexpressing PN-1 in postnatal neurons showed that control of extracellular proteolysis is important for neuronal function in vivo. These animals allow study of early events in certain motor neuron diseases. In PN-1 knockout mice, we identified phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein as a novel serine protease inhibitor not exclusive to the nervous system.

PhD students

Xiaobiao Li (2000-2006)
Berengere Fayard (2004-2005)
Mirna Kvajo (2000-2005)
Stephan Preiswerk (2002-2003)
Tamerlane Merlyn Edwards (2001-2002)
Valerie Murer (1994-2001)
Ludger Altrogge (1994-1998)
Dan Mihailescu (1994-1998)
Michael Sinnreich (1995-1998)
Patrick Kury (1991-1997)
Simone Niclou (1992-1997)
Isabelle Mansuy (1991-1995)
Alicia Bleuel (1986-1994)
Henrik Erno (1989-1994)
Giorgio Rovelli (1985-1991)
Christina Jung (1988-1990)
Eva Reinhard (1986-1990)
Jurg Sommer (1985-1990)
Juliane Bernholz (1986-1987)
Gerda Huber (1981-1983)
Urs R. Andres (1977-1980)

Postdoctoral fellows

Berengere Fayard (2005-2007)
Catherine Vaillant Alibert (2001-2007)
Maria Maddalena Lino (2002-2007)
Martin Verkuyl (2007)
Tanuja Rohatgi (2004-2007)
Slobodanka Vukosavic Orolicki (2004-2007)
Anne-Catherine Feutz (2000-2006)
Gianluca Civenni (2004-2005)
Ulrich Hengst (2003)
Hugo Albrecht (1998-2000)
Evert Luesink (1999-2000)
Petra Piosik (1997-2000)
Marie-Christine Bouton (1995-1999)
Marie-Pierre Chevron-Girard (1995-1999)
Nicole Scharen-Wiemers (1995-1997)
Hana Suidan (1989-1996)
Florence Botteri (1989-1995)
Alfred Pavlik (1992-1995)
Melitta Dihanich Spiess (1989-1991)
Angelo Guidolin (1989-1990)
Willi Halfter (1986-1990)
Scott Lambert (1987-1990)
Roland Meier (1985-1988)
Sergio Gloor (1986-1987)
Hanspeter Nick (1984-1986)
Joachim Gunther (1981-1985)
Kazuo Murato (1980-1984)
Alain Limat (1980-1982)
Evelyn Niday (1978-1981)
Rosmarie Hinnen (1978-1980)
Eva Frei (1978-1979)
Ronald M. Lindsay (1975-1977)
Frank Solomon (1972-1974)

Technical/Research associates

Maria Rita Meins (1992-2007)
Eliza Pandini Figueiredo Moreno (2005-2007)
Sabrina Djaffer (1996-2007)
Elisabeth Fries Schmid (1973-2005)
Marianne Brown-Luedi (1990-1995)
Magda Rentsch (1971-1991)
Sandro Matter (1982-1984)
Yan-Chim Jost (1970-1974)
Christiane Gendrau (1973)


Alain Despont (2007)
Philipe Otto (2006-2007)
Pedro Bordeaux Rego (2006-2007)
Antonia Rosenstiel (2005-2006)
Cedric Fischer (2005)
Colette Maurer (2003-2004)
Helene Te (2004)
Aude Weigel (2003)
Aita Signorell (2000-2002)
Ulrich Hengst (1999-2002)
Jesse Jones (2001)
Michael Kamber (2000-2001)
Anne-Catherine Praz (2001)
Fabienne Seiler (1999-2001)
Stefania Franzoni (1998-2000)
Di Bei (1997-1998)
Rene Bader (1994-1995)
Nicolo Beltraminelli (1994-1995)
Claudio Rhyner (1995)
Christine Lapize (1993-1994)
Valerie Murer (1992-1994)
Claudio Strebel (1989-1991)
Andreas Jenny (1988-1990)
Andreas Ultsch (1989-1990)
Burkhard Bechinger (1986)
William McFarland (1985-1986)
Sergio Gloor (1982-1985)
Ulrike Sester (1985)
Urs Gasser (1983)
Eric Badia (1981)
Reinhard Gysin (1971-1976)

Visiting scientists

Osvaldo Mirante (2005)
Laura Parisi (2003)
Rainer Ortmann (1987-1988)
Krystyna Renkawek (1982)
William B. Harrison (1980)
Istvan Szilagyi (1978)


PhD, Institute of Microbiology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich
BSc, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich

Positions held

Director, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Associate Professor, University of Basel, Basel
Deputy Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Head of the Neurobiology Section, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel


Member, Swiss Delegation for the China-Swiss Innovation Week, Beijing/Shangai
President, Union of the Swiss Societies for Experimental Biology
Delegate of the Swiss Government, Central Committee of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences
Member, Board of Experts, National Research Program "Diseases of the Nervous System", Swiss National Research Foundation, Bern
Member, Human Frontier Science Program Committee for Long-Term Fellowship Applications
Member, Federal Commission for the Swiss MD/PhD Program
Member, EMBO
Cloëtta Prize, Prof. Dr. Max Cloëtta Foundation, Zurich
Board of Trustees, Scientific Council, Swiss Foundation for Research on Muscle Diseases
Chairman, Scientific Council, Swiss Foundation for Research on Muscle Diseases
Board of BMFT Advisors, Zentrum für Molekulare Neurobiologie, Hamburg
Member, Scientific Council, Swiss Foundation for Research on Muscle Diseases
Member, Advisory Committee, Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, Bonn
Invited lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, University of Geneva, Geneva
Member, Advisory Committee, Division du Fonds de Recherche, Secrétariat d'Etat la Recherche, Paris