Brain health & plasticity

Principal Investigator:  Bogdan DRAGANSKI



We use in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical/behavioural assessment to understand the mechanisms underlying the potential risks for cognitive decline and mental health deterioration that are related to living in urban environment. Using already existing (n≈1600) and prospective brain imaging, demographic, geo-localisation, genetic, socio-economic, cardio-vascular risk (CVR) and psychometry data from the Lausanne longitudinal cohort CoLaus|PsyCoLaus, we will test for epidemiological associations between city living and brain health.

Our in vivo studies of tissue property and neural activity changes associated with neuromodulation therapy will not only help understanding the missing link between current descriptive assessments of human brain plasticity and underlying neurobiological mechanisms, but will also open new fields for related research in healthy and diseased brains. The expected findings may be of clinical relevance for the development of new treatment strategies for memory decline and mood dysregulation based on patient-tailored non-invasive stimulation techniques.


Research topics:

• Impact of environment and social adversity on mood and cognition

• Brain anatomy changes across the lifespan

• Neuromodulation-induced plasticity of hippocampal networks




Key publications

Trofimova O, Loued-Khenissi L, DiDomenicantonio G, Lutti A, Kliegel M, Stringhini S, Marques-Vidal P, Vollenweider P, Waeber G, Preisig M, Kherif F, Draganski B. Brain tissue properties link cardio-vascular risk factors, mood and cognitive performance in the CoLaus|PsyCoLaus epidemiological cohort. Neurobiol Aging. 2021 Feb 16;102:50-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.02.002.

Gyger L, Regen F, Ramponi C, Marquis R, Mall JF, Swierkosz-Lenart K, von Gunten A, Toni N, Kherif F, Heuser I, Draganski B. Gradient of electro-convulsive therapy's antidepressant effects along the longitudinal hippocampal axis.Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Mar 29;11(1):191. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01310-0.

Gyger L, Ramponi C, Mall JF, Swierkosz-Lenart K, Stoyanov D, Lutti A, von Gunten A, Kherif F, Draganski B. Temporal trajectory of brain tissue property changes induced by electroconvulsive therapy. Neuroimage. 2021 Feb 19;232:117895. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117895.

Marchi NA, Ramponi C, Hirotsu C, Haba-Rubio J, Lutti A, Preisig M, Marques-Vidal P, Vollenweider P, Kherif F, Heinzer R, Draganski B: Mean Oxygen Saturation during Sleep Is Related to Specific Brain Atrophy Pattern. Ann Neurol. 2020 Mar 27. doi: 10.1002/ana.25728

Taubert M, Roggenhofer E, Melie-Garcia L, Muller S, Lehmann N, Preisig M, Vollenweider P, Marques-Vidal P, Lutti A, Kherif F, Draganski B: Converging patterns of ageing-associated brain volume loss and tissue microstructure differences. Neurobiology of Aging. 2020 Apr;88:108-11

Oltedal L, Bartsch H, Sørhaug OJE, Kessler U, Abbott C, Dols A, Draganski B, Redlich R, Dannlowski U, Kugel H, Bouckaert F, Sienaert P, Anand A, Espinoza R, Narr KL, Holland D, Dale AM, Oedegaard KJ The Global ECT-MRI Research Collaboration (GEMRIC): Establishing a multi-site investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying response to electroconvulsive therapy. NeuroImage Clin 2017;14:422-432.

Draganski B, Ashburner J, Hutton C, Kherif F, Frackowiak RS, Helms G, Weiskopf N.Regional specificity of MRI contrast parameter changes in normal ageing revealed by voxel-based quantification (VBQ). Neuroimage. 2011 Jan 28

Draganski B, Kherif F, Kloppel S, Cook PA, Deichmann R, Alexander DC, Parker GJM, Ashburner J, and Frackowiak, RSJ. Evidence for segregated and integrative connectivity patterns in the human basal ganglia, J Neurosci. 2008 Jul 9;28(28):7143-52

Draganski B, Gaser C, Kempermann G, Kuhn HG, Winkler J, Buchel C, et al. Temporal and spatial dynamics of brain structure changes during extensive learning. J Neurosci 2006; 26: 6314-7.

Draganski B, Gaser C, Busch V, Schuierer G, Bogdahn U, May A. Neuroplasticity: changes in grey matter induced by training. Nature 2004; 427: 311-2



Current funding 

Swiss National Science Foundation: project grants (320030_135679, 32003B_159780, CRSK-3_190185 and 324730_192755and Sinergia

ERA-NET iSEE project


Innosuisse HeadFirst project

Fondation Leenaards

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CHUV - Rue du Bugnon 46 - CH-1011 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 314 95 93
Fax +41 21 314 12 56
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV)