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Principal Investigator

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Thomas Biederer

Thomas Biederer

Principal Investigator
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Neuroscience

36 Harrison Avenue
Office: Arnold 207
Boston, Massachusetts 02111

Phone: 617-636-2131
Email: [email protected]
Connect: LinkedIn / ResearchGate / Google Scholar / PublonsPubMed

Short Biography

Thomas Biederer received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. Thomas then earned a Ph.D. in Biology from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for studies he performed on membrane protein quality control in the secretory pathway with Dr. Thomas Sommer at the Max Delbrück Center. Combining his interests in neuroscience and membrane biology, Thomas pursued postdoctoral training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Südhof. At UT Southwestern, Thomas investigated mechanisms of synapse formation in vertebrate neurons and he identified novel synaptogenic cell adhesion molecules. He became faculty member at Yale University in 2003, and joined in 2013 the Tufts University Medical School, where he is Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Among other progress, his group has demonstrated that select synapse-organizing adhesion proteins are sufficient to induce synapses and promote neurotransmission in vitro and in vivo.

Thomas’ long-term research goal is to understand how neurons form synapses with each other in the vertebrate brain. His group identifies molecules that induce synapses in the developing brain and control synaptic remodeling within networks, and characterizes the underlying mechanisms. This enables a better understanding of synaptic aberrations in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders and can identify molecular targets for therapeutic interventions.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic Positions & Affiliations

Tufts University School of Medicine
Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program, 2016 – Present

Tufts University School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, 2013 – Present

Yale University
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, 2009 – 2013

Yale School of Medicine
Member, Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair, 2005 – 2013

Yale University
Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, 2003 –  2009

Research Experience

UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
Postdoctoral Fellow with Thomas C. Südhof, 1999-2003
Topic: Synapse formation and organization in the vertebrate central nervous system

Max-Delbrück-Centrum, Berlin
Research Fellow with Thomas Sommer, 1998
Topic: Functions of the ubiquitin/proteasome system at the endoplasmic reticulum of S. cerevisiae

Max-Delbrück-Centrum, Berlin
Graduate Student with Thomas Sommer, 1995-1997
Topic: Characterization of the ubiquitin system at the endoplasmic reticulum of S. cerevisiae


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Ph.D. in Biology with specialization in Cell Biology, 1998, summa cum laude

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Diploma in Biochemistry, 1995

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Study of Biochemistry, 1991-1994

Universität Regensburg, Germany
Study of Biochemistry, 1989-1991

Honors and Awards

Brain Research Foundation
Brain Research Foundation Fellow, 2016

University of Bordeaux
Initiative d’Excellence Award, 2016

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (Formerly NARSAD)
Young Investigator Award, 2009

Dana Foundation
Program in Brain and Immuno-Imaging Scholar Award, 2009

National Institute on Drug Abuse
Nominee for Presidential Early Career Award (PECASE), 2006

March of Dimes Foundation
Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, 2005

The Brain Tumor Society
Paul Daniel Bogart Leadership Chair of Research Award, 2004

Human Frontier Science Program
Long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1999 – 2001

German Society for Cell Biology
Boehringer-Mannheim Prize for Young Scientists, 1998

Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (“German National Merit Foundation”)
Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes Scholarship, 1990 – 1994

Bayerische Hochbegabtenförderung (“Bavarian Bursary for Gifted Students”)
Bayerische Hochbegabtenförderung Scholarship, 1989-1994


For a list of all published papers, please visit our Publications page.

Professional Services

Tufts University Teaching
Biochemical Foundations in Neuroscience  NRSC 251, since 2014
Synapse Neurobiology, NRSC 213, since 2014
Cell & Molecular Tutorials in Neuroscience, NRSC 200, since 2016

Manuscript Review
Cell, Science, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, eLife, PNAS, Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Communications, EMBO Journal, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Structure, Journal of Physiology, Journal of Comparative Neurology, Developmental Neurobiology, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, European Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurochemistry, Neuroscience Letters, Cerebral Cortex, FEBS Letters, PLoS One, Human Molecular Genetics, Biological Psychiatry, Trends in Neurosciences, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Frontiers in Bioscience and Springer Publishing Group.

Federal Grant Review
ad hoc reviewer NIH Study Section SYN Synapses, Cytoskeleton, Trafficking
ad hoc reviewer NIH Fellowship Study Section Neurodevelopment, Synaptic Plasticity, and Neurodegeneration
ad hoc reviewer NIH Special Emphasis Panel MDCN Complex Brain Disorders
ad hoc reviewer for National Science Foundation

Other Grant Review
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), MRC, Swiss, National Science Foundation, French National Research Agency, Dutch Research Council, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, Alzheimer’s Association, Carman Trust, Jeffress Trust.


Methods for modulating transcriptional activation using Mint proteins
Inventors: Thomas C. Südhof, Thomas Biederer, Xinran Liu
Date of Issue: March, 2001
U.S. Patent Application 09/821,861

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