Michel Cuénod

Michel Cuénod is a Swiss MD with experience in psychiatry, and a neuroscientist trained in neurophysiology, neurochemistry and neuromorphology. He was professor of neurobiology and served as director of the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich from 1984 to 1998. Since 1998, he has been invited professor at the University of Lausanne.

Michel Cuénod was president of the European Neuroscience Association and is one of the founders of the European Journal of Neuroscience. As Secretary of the Human Frontier Science Program, he promoted international cooperation in molecular biology and neuroscience. He is recipient of many prizes and awards: the "Prix César Roux" of the Medical School of Lausanne, the "Robert Bing Preis" Award for Neurology of the Swiss Academy of Medicine, and the "Marcel Benoist Preis", the highest scientific distinction awarded by the Swiss government. He was named Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Geneva in 1994, and "Einzelmitglied" of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences in 1996. He received the Medal of the Human Frontier Science Program in 1999, and became an honorary member of the Swiss Society for Neuroscience in 2007.

In the course of his scientific carrier, he established a split-brain model of the pigeon visual system. He worked on the rapid axonal transport, both anterograde and retrograde, at the light and electron microscopy levels. Together with his collaborators, he developed the concept of "transmitter specific retrograde labelling" allowing to mark selectively neuronal pathways according to their transmitter. He then moved to the study of excitatory amino-acid transmission in the optic nerve and established homocysteic acid as "gliotransmitter" acting on NMDA receptors. He contributed to our understanding of the role of nitric oxyde in synaptic transmission. More recently, he became active in the field of neurobiology of schizophrenia; in collaboration with Professor Kim Do, he promotes the concept of redox imbalance due to impaired glutathione synthesis of genetic origin as a risk factor for the disease.


Over 400 publications on the following topics:

  • Central control of vasoreceptor reflex
  • Visual input to limbic cortex
  • Turnover of histones
  • Axonal transport and synaptic functions
  • Split-brain studies in the pigeon
  • Neuron-glia interactions in excitatory and nitric oxide transmission
  • Pathophysiology of schizophrenia
 Last updated on 15/12/2020 at 14:23