I am a behavioral neurophysiologist, trained in a variety of behavioral paradigms, pharmacology, quantitative neuroanatomy, in vivo neuronal recording and neuromodulation (optogenetics, chemogenetics) in mouse models. After my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I came to Paris on a fellowship by the “Fondation pour la Recherche Medical”, where I joined the “Neurophysiology of Repetitive Behaviour” team in 2016. I am also a founding and active member of a neuroscientific initiative that engages for gender equity / equality.
Since my childhood, I have been curious about how the human brain could acquire something as complex and beautiful as language. In order to explore this question, I accomplished both a masters in science (biology) and in the humanities (linguistics & literature), before merging it into an interdisciplinary PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, in the Department of Evolutionary Genetics with Prs. Svante Pääbo & Wolfgang Enard. There, I behaviourally characterized a mouse model of human language evolution and found that this model automatized learned contents faster than control mice. Crucial for my findings were the years in Pr. Ann Graybiel’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Having obtained an FRM fellowship, I moved to Paris, where I studied the neuroanatomy of the same mouse model at the Institut du Fer à Moulin before joining the research group of Eric Burguière at the ICM in 2016.
My projects address learning and automatization in cortico-basal ganglia circuits in health and disease. While automatization might render us efficient in our daily lives and might enable us to acquire such complex systems as language and speech, a loss of cognitive control might lead to neuropsychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or Tourette Syndrome. Together with my colleagues, I study the neurobiological basis of aberrant repetitive behaviours such as compulsions or tics using mouse models, a project for which I obtained the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO fellowship. My other projects investigate the role of dopamine during automatization (international ANR project) as well as motivational aspects of cognitive control (BigBrainTheory, Daunizeau & Burguière).
I am a founding and active member of the gender equality movement “XX Initiative” as well as a member of the gender equity committee at the Paris Brain Institute. Together with my colleagues, we have developed a neuroscientifically-based action plan in order to achieve gender equity / equality (Schreiweis et al., Nat Hum Behav, 2019). We alert and educate about gender inequity / inequality based on data and scientific publications in order to break implicit gender stereotypes hindering gender equity / equality, reaching scientists, scholastic structures as well as the greater public.
2007 – 2012 Doctoral thesis in Biology at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany.
2003 – 2006 Master’s Degree in Biology and Linguistics. University of Freiburg, Germany.
2003 – 2005 Teaching qualification (Agrégation) in Biology and Linguistics. University of Freiburg, Germany.
Training and professional experience
2016 – present Postdoctoral Researcher, Burguière lab, Sorbonne University, France.
2014 – 2015 Postdoctoral Researcher, Groszer (IFM) & Oury (INEM) labs, Sorbonne & Paris 5 Universities, France (FRM Postdoctoral Fellowship)
2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Graybiel laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
2007 – 2012 Doctoral student, Enard & Pääbo laboratory, Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany & Graybiel Laboratory, MIT, Cambridge, USA (50% of my thesis)
Grant, Prizes & academic awards
2019-2023 ANR-PRCI Grant for 48 months (co-supervisor with E. Burguière & W. Enard, 500k€)
2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO prize “For Women In Science” 2016 (selection rate < 3%)
2014-2015 Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM)
2006-2011 Doctoral Fellowship of the Max Planck Society (International MP Research School)
2006 Fellowship for 2-months internship in Human Molecular Genetics in Helsinki, Finland (German National Academic Foundation)
1999-2005 Prestigious fellowship to accomplish bachelor/master studies. German National Academic Foundation (selection rate ≈ 0.25%)
Selection of scientific talk invitations
2019 Paris Brain Institute. Invited by Dr. Brian Lau. Paris.
2019 Symposium “Génétique et troubles du langage ». Invited by Pr. Stanislas Lyonnet. IMAGINE, Paris.
2015 Symposium of the German National Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy “Human evolution towards language: from genes to behaviour”. Invited by Prof. Dr. Angela Friederici, Max Planck Director & Vice-President of the Max Planck Society. IISER, Pune, India.
2013 Research Seminar, Rutgers University. Invited by Prof. Dr. Laszlo Zaborszky. New Jersey, USA.
2012 McGovern Institute. Invited by Prof. Ann Graybiel, MIT Institute Professor. Cambridge, USA.
2011 Workshop “Comparative and Evolutionary Neurogenomics”, SMBE. Invited by Dr. Philipp Khaitovich, Max Planck Director. Kyoto, Japan.
2010 Research seminar, University of Uppsala. Invited by the Graduate Student Committee. Sweden.
2009 Research seminar, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Invited by the Graduate Student Committee. Zurich, Switzerland.
Selection of extra-scientific presentations
2020 Selected for a short talk at the EMBO / HHMI conference on “Gender Roles and their impact in Academia”
2020 Paris Brain Institute, representing ICM’s gender equality movement. Invited by the graduate student & postdoc organisation.
2019 Panel discussion by EuropaNova on “Elles font bouger l’Europe!”
2018 Panel Discussion “Growing up in Science/Gender Equity”. Workshop IoN London – ICM Paris.
2017 Guest Scientist at the impro theatre program NEW Science
2016 Interventions in high schools in Parisian suburbs as a female ambassador for the program “For Girls in Science” by the L’Oréal Foundation & UNESCO.
selection of Teaching responsibilities
Since 2020 Master class on the neurobiological basis of disorders with repetitive behaviours (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes).
Master class on chemogenetic and neuropharmacological approaches in models of psychiatric disorders (Sorbonne Université)
Since 2019 Co-Supervision of a PhD student
Since 2019 Tutor of the HotTopics Program & master class on in vivo electrophysiological recordings & neuromodulator approaches (iMIND, Master BIP)
2018 Teaching at Paris Spring School
2011 Lecture series about cortico-basal ganglia structure and function – Max Planck Institute, Leipzig
2010 Lecture series “Principles of Brain Evolution” – Brain & Cognitive Sciences Department, MIT, USA
2007-present Instruction & supervision of 14 undergraduate and master students
2007 Scientific English for animal technicians – Max Planck Institute, Leipzig
Behaviour Design, realization and analysis of various behavioural paradigms including operant conditioning chambers, maze learning paradigms, pharmacological assays (amphetamine, morphine, aripiprazole, D1/D2 agonists…), fine-motor reaching & grasping skills, ultrasonic vocalization. In vivo electrophysiological recordings and optogenetic modulation in freely moving animals. Chemogenetics.
Surgery Stereotaxic injections. Fabrication and surgical implantation of devices for chronic recordings and optogenetic stimulation. Implantation of osmotic minipumps.
Husbandry Colony establishment and management, genotyping, writing of proposals for animal experiments
Neuroanatomy Transcardial perfusions, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, in situ hybridizations, stereology, embryo dissection, tissue clearing (Clarity, iDISCO), imaging (e.g. Apotome, Axioscan, Fiji, ZEN)
Data Analysis R
Molecular Biol. PCR, Western Blotting, cloning (construction of viral vectors)
Workshop Skills 3D Printing, Laser Cutter
Original Research Articles
Lamothe H*, Schreiweis C*, et al.: “The Sapap3-knockout mouse model manifests a spectrum of repetitive behaviours” – bioRXiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.22.915215
Schreiweis C, Irinopoulou T, Vieth B, Laddada L, Oury F, Burguière E, Enard W, Groszer M: Mice carrying a humanized Foxp2 knock-in allele show region-specific shifts of striatal Foxp2 expression levels. Cortex. 2019 Sep;118:212-222. Epub 2019 Jan 30. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.008. (Corresponding Author).
Schreiweis C*, Hammerschmidt K*, Minge C, Pääbo S, Fischer J**, Enard W**: A humanized version of Foxp2 does not affect ultrasonic vocalization in adult mice. Genes Brain Behav, 14(8):583-90. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12237.
Schreiweis C*, Bornschein U*, Burguière E, Kerimoglu C, Schreiter S, Dannemann M, Goyal S, Rea E, French CA, Puliyadi R, Groszer M, Fisher SE, Mundry R, Winter C, Hevers W, Pääbo S, Enard W & Graybiel AM: Humanized Foxp2 accelerates learning by enhancing transitions from declarative to procedural performance. PNAS, 111(39):14253-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1414542111.
Maricic T, Guenther V, Georgiev O, Gehre S, Curlin M, Schreiweis C, Naumann R, Burbano HA et al.: A recent evolutionary change affects a regulatory element in the human FOXP2 gene. Mol Biol Evol, 30(4): 844-52. doi: 10.1093/molbev/mss271.
Enard W, Gehre S, Hammerschmidt K, Hölter SM, Blass T, Somel M, Brückner MK, Schreiweis C, et al.: A humanized version of Foxp2 affects cortico-basal ganglia circuits in mice. Cell, 137(5):96171. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.041.
Chamouni A, Schreiweis C, Oury F: Bone, brain & beyond. Rev Endocr Metab Disord, 16(2):99-113. doi: 10.1007/s11154-015-9312-5.
scientific publications resulting from my institutional engagement
Schreiweis C, Volle E, Durr A, Auffret A, Delarasse C, George N , Dumont M, Hassan BA, Renier N, Rosso C, Thiebaut de Schotten M, Burguière E, Zujovic V: A neuroscientific approach to increase gender equality. Nat Hum Behav. 2019 Dec; 3(12):1238-1239. doi: 10.1038/s41562-019-0755-7. (Corresponding Author).
short selection of NON-scientific publications on my work
Article in National Geographic on our gender equality initiative. https://www.nationalgeographic.fr/photographie/2019/11/sciences-les-chercheuses-veulent-faire-exploser-le-plafond-de-verre
Article on L’Oréal-UNESCO reward https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/2016/10/11/chercheuse-veut-eradiquer-tics-et-toc-eclairant-cerveau_a_21579021/
2014 several articles on my main publication resulting from my thesis work
World Science: http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/140915_foxp2.htm
Bioscience Technology: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2014/09/key-role-language-gene-identified