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Sleep Europe 2024 Lecture Summary

Significant advance in our understanding of the molecular and cellular bases of sleep and sleep disorders was achieved during the last 3 decades. Major genes and pathways were discovered in both basic mechanisms of sleep regulation and major sleep disorders, including mainly narcolepsy, RLS and sleep apnoea. Additionally, epigenetic contributions have been identified. Nevertheless, the mystery of sleep functions remains elusive. A review on the field will be presented with reference to the contribution of my own laboratory.


Mehdi Tafti is neurophysiologist and geneticist with 38 years of experience in both basic and clinical sleep research. He was a full professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Lausanne till September 2023. He was also the co-founder in 2006 and co-director of the Center for Investigation and Research in Sleep (CIRS) at the Lausanne University Hospital till 2018.
The main fields of his research are molecular genetics of sleep and central hypersomnias, parasomnians, as well as pharmacology of sleep disorders. His laboratory discovered the first genes regulating several aspects of sleep and sleep EEG in mice as well as many genetic associations for sleep disorders and the only causal gene mutations in familial and sporadic narcolepsy and Kleine-Levin syndrome. More recently, his laboratory discovered that hypocretin deficiency in narcolepsy may not be due to an autoimmune process but the epigenetic silencing of the hypocretin gene.

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Prof. Dr. Mehdi Tafti

Keynote Lecture:

Molecular and cellular regulation of sleep and sleep disorders