Werner M. Graf, MD, PhD (Professor)
Primary Specialization: Neuroscience
Werner M. Graf received an M.D. degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. degree in 1977 from the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg i.Br./Germany, specializing in neurophysiology and demonstrating for the first time multisensory integration at the single cell level in vestibular nucleus neurons. Subsequently, he spent three years at the Georg-August University in Göttingen as a junior Assistant Professor, studying visual postural control mechanisms, neuroethology and comparative anatomy/physiology, and teaching neuroanatomy to medical students. In 1979, he joined the Department of Physiology & Biophysics headed by Dr. Rodolfo Llinás at New York University Medical Center in New York as a postdoctoral student to work on the structure and function of three-dimensional sensory-motor transformation of eye and head movements. He continued this work as a faculty member of The Rockefeller University in New York where he was an Assistant and later an Associate Professor. During this time, he also kept a laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to investigate comparative and evolutionary aspects of the vestibulo-oculomotor system, and develop the unique paradigm of the flatfish, a model of genetic and environmental learning and adaptation. In 1992, he took up a position as Research Director at the CNRS/Collčge de France in Paris to set up a non-human primate laboratory. His group there discovered vestibular input to the parietal cortex, a sensory quality which recently has been discovered to alleviate the syndrome of spatial hemineglect. In collaboration with another CNRS laboratory, he is also using transneuronal pathway tracing with rabies virus, a powerful and exclusive neuroanatomical tool.
Dr. Grafs research focuses on the neuronal basis of self-motion perception and spatial orientation using trained non-human primates as models for human behavior and pathophysiology, especially with respect to normal aging and the associated challenges of every-day life, i.e., vehicle driving and the prevention of falls in the elderly.
Dr. Graf has served as external and internal reviewer, and advisor for a number of national and international funding agencies. Among them are NSF, the Human Frontier Science Program, the European Commission Research Directorate, the CNRS, the Swiss National Fund, the German Research Fund, the Dutch National Fund, the British Research Council, etc. He is a reviewer for numerous scientific journals such as Science, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, etc. His work has been featured in the popular literature, especially that related to microgravity and space exploration. He was a Grass Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in 1981, and received the Lacassagne Prize of the Collčge de France in 2002.