Andreas Lüthi

Group News

Mar 3, 2021
'Brain state' behind social interaction uncovered
Mar 24, 2020
Research group of Andreas Lüthi receives Swiss Brain League Research Prize 2020
Oct 22, 2019
A fundamental neuronal microcircuit for learning
Apr 23, 2019
Stressed, anxious? Ask the brain!
Sep 22, 2018
Was passiert im Gehirn bei Angst
All group news


FMI report pages

Andreas Lüthi

Cellular mechanisms of learning and memory

Experience-dependent changes in behavior are mediated by long-term functional modifications in brain circuits. We are interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and circuit levels. As a model system, we are using classical (Pavlovian) fear conditioning, a simple form of associative learning that is particularly suitable for study in rodents.

The inability to control or inhibit inappropriate fear responses is a hallmark of human anxiety disorders. We are investigating the cellular mechanisms underlying fear extinction, an associative learning process mediating inhibitory control of inappropriate fear behavior.

Using a multidisciplinary and integrated experimental approach in mice, we are combining in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, imaging, molecular biology, genetics, and behavioral techniques to identify the synaptic and cellular constituents of neural circuits in the amygdala underlying the acquisition, encoding and extinction of fear memory - the microcircuitry of fear conditioning.

Andreas Lüthi

This is a list of selected publications from this group. For a full list of publications, please visit our Publications page and search by group name.

Jan Gründemann*, Yael Bitterman*, Tingjia Lu, Sabine Krabbe, Benjamin F. Grewe, Mark J. Schnitzer & Andreas Lüthi (2019) Amygdala Ensembles Encode Behavioral States

Science, Vol. 364, Issue 6437, eaav8736
* Co-first authors -- Publication available open access

Fadok JP, Krabbe S, Markovic M, Courtin J, Xu C, Massi L, Botta P, Bylund K, Müller C, Kovacevic A, Tovote P, Lüthi A (2017) A competitive inhibitory circuit for selection of active and passive fear responses

Nature 542, 96-100

Grewe BF, Gründemann J, Kitch LJ, Lecoq JA, Parker J, Marshall JD, Larkin MC, Jercog P, Grenier F, Li JZ, Lüthi A, Schnitzer MJ (2017) Neural ensemble dynamics underlying long-term associative memory

Nature 543, 670-675

Xu C, Krabbe S, Gründemann J, Botta P, Fadok JP, Osakada F, Saur D, Grewe BF, Schitzer MJ, Callaway EM, Lüthi A (2016) Distinct hippocampal pathways mediate dissociable roles of context in memory retrieval

Cell 167:961-972

Vogel E*, Krabbe S*, Gründemann J, Wamsteeker Cusulin JI, Lüthi A (2016) Projection-specific dynamic regulation of inhibition in amygdala micro-circuits

Neuron 91: 644-651
* Co-first author

Tovote P*, Esposito MS*, Botta P, Chaudun F, Fadok JP, Markovic M, Wolff SBE, Ramakrishnan C, Fenno L, Deisseroth K, Herry C, Arber S, Lüthi A (2016) Midbrain circuits for defensive behavior

Nature 534:206-212
* Co-first author

Botta P, Demmou L, Kasugai Y, Markovic M, Xu C, Fadok JP, Lu T, Poe MM, Xu L, Cook JM, Rudolph U, Sah P, Ferraguti F, Lüthi A (2015) Regulating anxiety with extrasynaptic inhibition

Nature Neurosci 18:1493-1500

Wolff SBE*, Gründemann J*, Tovote P, Krabbe S, Jacobson GA, Xu C, Müller C, Herry C, Ehrlich I, Friedrich RW, Letzkus JJ, Lüthi A (2014) Amygdala interneuron subtypes control fear learning through disinhibition

Nature 509:453-458
*Co-first author

Senn V*, Wolff SBE*, Herry C, Grenier F, Ehrlich I, Gründemann J, Fadok JP, Müller C, Letzkus JJ, Lüthi A (2014) Long-range connectivity defines behavioral specificity of amygdala neurons

Neuron 81: 428-437
*Co-first author

Letzkus JJ*, Wolff SBE*, Meyer EMM, Tovote P, Courtin J, Herry C, Lüthi A (2011) A disinhibitory microcircuit for associative fear learning in auditory cortex

Nature 480: 331-335
*Co-first author

Ciocchi S*, Herry C*, Grenier F, Wolff SBE, Letzkus, JJ, Vlachos I, Ehrlich I, Sprengel R, Deisseroth K, Stadler M, Müller C, Lüthi A (2010) Encoding of conditioned fear in central amygdala inhibitory circuits

Nature 468: 277-282
*Co-first author

Haubensak W, Kunwar P, Cai H, Ciocchi S, Wall N, Ponnusami R, Biag J, Dong HW, Deisseroth K, Callaway EM, Fanselow MS, Lüthi A, Anderson DJ (2010) Genetic dissection of an amygdala microcircuit that gates conditioned fear

Nature 468: 270-276.

Gogolla N, Caroni P, Lüthi A, Herry C (2009) Perineuronal nets protect fear memories from erasure

Science 325:1258-1261

Fourcaudot E*, Gambino F*, Humeau Y, Casassus G, Poulain B, Lüthi A (2009) L-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels mediate expression of presynaptic LTP in amygdala

Nature Neurosci 12:1093-1095
*Co-first author

Herry C, Ciocchi S, Senn V, Demmou L, Müller C, Lüthi A (2008) Switching on and off fear by distinct neuronal circuits

Nature 454:600-606

Shaban H, Humeau Y, Herry C, Casassus G, Shigemoto R, Ciocchi S, Barbieri, S, van der Putten H, Kaupmann K, Bettler B, Lüthi A (2006) Generalization of amygdala LTP and conditioned fear in the absence of presynaptic inhibition

Nature Neurosci 9:1028-1035

Humeau Y, Herry C, Kemp N, Shaban H, Fourcaudot E, Bissiere S, Lüthi A (2005) Dendritic spine heterogeneity determines afferent-specific hebbian plasticity in the amygdala

Neuron 45:119-131

Humeau Y, Shaban H, Bissière S, Lüthi A (2003) Presynaptic induction of heterosynaptic associative plasticity in the mammalian brain

Nature 426:841-845

Bissière S, Humeau Y, Lüthi A (2003) Dopamine gates LTP induction in lateral amygdala by suppressing feedforward inhibition

Nature Neurosci 6:587-592

Full list of publications
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Group leader

Joined group in 2003
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PhD students

Joined group in 2021
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Joined group in 2015
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Joined group in 2017
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Postdoctoral fellows

Joined group in 2016
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Joined group in 2015
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Joined group in 2013
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Joined group in 2018
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Nikolas was born in Athens, Greece, where he studied Applied Mathematics and Physics. He had always been fascinated by the complexity of the human brain, so he decided to shift his focus to Neuroscience. He joined the Neurasmus Master’s program in Neuroscience in Berlin and Bordeaux. During his PhD he worked with Prof. Anton Sirota to investigate the role of breathing in entraining neuronal dynamics and engaged in the large-scale characterization of the oscillatory architecture of memory circuits.

Current reseach

Nikolas is working on the neuromodulation of amygdala circuits during behavior. Using a combination of fiber photometry and large-scale electrophysiological recordings, Nikolas is investigating the role of neuromodulators in coordinating amygdala circuits during behavior.


  • Ph.D. in Neuroscience - Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München
  • M.Sc. in Neuroscience (Charité, Berlin & Université de Bordeaux II)
  • B.Sc, M.Sc in Applied Mathematics and Physics (NTUA)

Joined group in 2018
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Joined group in 2018
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Joined group in 2019
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Joined group in 2017
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Joined group in 2015
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Technical/Research associates

Joined group in 2016
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Tobias was born in Alsace, on the French side of the tri-national urban area of Basel. He did his studies in Strasbourg, before joining the Oncology Department at Novartis, as a postgraduate student. He worked in the pharmacology unit, where he performed PK/PD and efficacy studies on tumor models. He then joined the FMI in 2013 as a Research Associate in the lab of Momo Bentires-Alj. His main project was to identify new therapeutic targets in the field of breast cancer, using an in vivo mutagenesis screening tool. He then got the opportunity to join the Neurobiology Department of the FMI in the lab of Andreas Lüthi, where he is working since 2016 as a Lab Manager.


• MSc in Pharmacology, University of Strasbourg
• BSc in Cellular Biology and Physiology, University of Strasbourg

Joined group in 2019
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Joined group in 2006
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Visiting scientists

Joined group in 2021
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Joined group in 2019
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PhD students

Alejandro Tsai (2016-2021)
Simon D'Aquin (2014-2021)
Elisabeth Martha Maria Meyer (2010-2017)
Milica Markovic (2009-2017)
Lynda Demmou (2007-2016)
Elisabeth Vogel (2010-2015)
Paolo Botta (2009-2014)
Steffen Wolff (2008-2014)
Verena Senn (2004-2009)
Stéphane Ciocchi (2004-2009)
Ulrich Pfeiffer (2006-2008)
Elodie Fourcaudot (2003-2008)
Sunil Prabhakar (2006-2007)
Karin Loretan (2004-2006)
Hamdy Shaban (2002-2005)
Stephanie Bissiere (2000-2004)

Postdoctoral fellows

Sabine Krabbe (2012-2020)
Lema Massi (2012-2018)
Jan Gruendemann (2011-2017)
Jonathan Fadok (2010-2017)
Philip Tovote (2009-2017)
Chun Xu (2009-2016)
Paolo Botta (2014-2015)
Tingjia Lu (2011-2015)
Jaclyn Cusulin (2014)
Johannes Letzkus (2007-2013)
Rogier Poorthuis (2013)
Francois Grenier (2005-2013)
Philippe Gastrein (2007-2012)
Joao Bacelo (2008-2012)
Stéphane Ciocchi (2009-2010)
Verena Senn (2009-2010)
Ingrid Ehrlich (2006-2009)
Cyril Herry (2003-2008)
Guillaume Casassus (2005-2008)
Yann Humeau (2002-2005)
Christine Gebhardt (2004-2005)

Technical/Research associates

Tingjia Lu (2015-2017)
Aleksandar Kovacevic (2015-2017)
Kristine Bylund (2013-2015)
Julia Luedke (2011-2013)
Maria Rita Meins (2008-2012)
Ronald Koenig (2003-2006)
Augustyn Bogucki (2003-2004)


Nikolaos Armeniakos (2020-2021)
Julian Hinz (2017)
Dominic Trojer (2007-2009)
Stefan Kucsera (2006-2008)
Magali Klaey (2006)
Christian Mueller (2006)
Dorothea Haemmerer (2004-2005)
Karin Loretan (2003-2004)

Visiting scientists

Nikolaos Karalis (2017-2018)
Philip Tovote (2017)
Enrica Paradiso (2015-2016)
Karen Lavi (2012-2016)
Supriya Ghosh (2011)
Elisabeth Vogel (2009-2010)
Heidrun Baechli (2003-2006)


PhD, University of Basel, Basel
MSc, University of Basel, Basel

Positions held

Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel
Junior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel; Assistant Professor, Biozentrum, University of Basel
Assistant Professor, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Department of Anatomy, University of Bristol, UK


Pfizer Research Prize
Titular Professor, University of Basel
Swiss National Science Foundation, Professorship
Borderline Personality Disorder Research Foundation, Junior Investigator Award
Human Frontier Science Program, Long-Term Fellowship
EMBO, Long-Term Fellowship
European Union Fellowship