Epigenetic mechanisms controlling learning and memory, anxiety and stress coping

Our goal is to understand how we learn and forget, cope with stress (“stress resilience”) and why chronic stress strongly affects our behaviour (e.g. social behaviour, pain perception and eating). Behaviours are mainly controlled by the brain, but also by neuronal and hormonal interactions between the brain and peripheral organs.

Behavioural patterns can be imprinted during development of the nervous system or by metabolic processes. Under certain pathophysiological circumstances, these changes can lead to psychiatric or neurological disease. A detailed understanding of these neurobiological processes can lead to development of better therapies or prevent disease. We are also interested in how the environment can influence behaviour through epigenetic changes such as covalent modifications of DNA (e.g. methylation) and chromatin (e.g. acetylation).

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2020: Scientific Managing Director and Research Group Leader, Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR), Mainz
  • Since 2018: Scientific Managing Director and Research Group Leader, Institute for Resilience Research (LIR), Mainz
  • Since 2010: Head of Institute of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center (UMC), Mainz
  • 2008 - 2014: Spokesperson of the DFG Research Unit FOR926
  • 2004 - 2008: W3 Professor for Physiological Chemistry, Medical Faculty, Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU), Mainz
  • 1997 - 2004: Independent Group Leader of MPI at the Institute of Psychiatry, Munich


  • 2002: Habilitation and venia legendi, Faculty of Biology (Zoology), Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
  • 1995 - 1997: Postdoc with Prof. G. Schütz, DKFZ Heidelberg
  • 1990 - 1995: Postdoc with Prof. G. Eichele, Harvard University Boston and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
  • 1989 - 1990: Postdoc with Prof. M. Lezzi, Insitute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich
  • 1985 - 1989: PhD with Prof. M. Lezzi and H. Eppenberger, Insitute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich
  • 1985: Diploma in Natural Science, ETH Zurich

Selected publications by Beat Lutz

Domingo-Rodriguez L#, Ruiz de Azua I#, Dominguez E, Senabre E, Serra I, Kummer S, Navandar M, Baddenhausen S, Hofmann C, Andero R, Gerber S, Navarrete M, Dierssen M, Lutz B*, Martín-García E*, Maldonado R* (2020) A specific prelimbic-nucleus accumbens pathway controls resilience versus vulnerability to food addiction. Nat Commun, 11(1):782 (# indicates equal contributions; * indicates shared senior authorships) Link

Aparisi Rey A, Karaulanov E, Sharopov S, Arab K, Schäfer A, Gierl M, Guggenhuber S, Brandes C, Pennella L, Gruhn WH, Jelinek R, Maul C, Conrad A, Kilb W, Luhmann HJ, Niehrs C, Lutz B (2019) Gadd45alpha modulates aversive learning through post-transcriptional regulation of memory-related mRNAs EMBO Rep, 20(6):e46022 Link

de Azua IR, Lutz B (2019) Multiple endocannabinoid-mediated mechanisms in the regulation of energy homeostasis in brain and peripheral tissuesCellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 76(7):1341-1363 Link

Wickert M, Hildick KL, Baillie GL, Jelinek R, Aparisi Rey A, Monory K, Schneider M, Ross RA, Henley JM, Lutz B (2018) The F238L point mutation in the cannabinoid type 1 receptor enhances basal endocytosis via lipid rafts. Front Mol Neurosci, 11:230 Link

Busquets-Garcia A, Gomis-González M, Srivastava RK, Cutando L, Ortega-Alvaro A, Ruehle S, Remmers F, Bindila L, Bellocchio L, Marsicano G, Lutz B*, Maldonado R*, Ozaita A* (2016) Peripheral and central CB1 cannabinoid receptors control stress-induced impairment of memory consolidationProc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 113(35):9904-9 Link

Lutz B, Marsicano G, Maldonado R, Hillard CJ (2015) The endocannabinoid system in guarding against fear, anxiety and stressNat Rev Neurosci, 16(12):705-18 Link