Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Physiology and Pharmacology Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Jamie M. Kramer

Jamie M Kramer

Assistant Professor 

Postdoc Radboud University Medical Center, Netherlands
 Memorial University of Newfoundland
B.Sc. University of Guelph
Office: Medical Sciences Building, Room 266
p. 519.661.2111 x. 83740
Lab: Medical Sciences Building, Room 279
p. 519.661.2111 x. 84444

Visit Dr. Kramer's Website

Epigenetics in Cognition

Epigenetics is the study of long lasting changes in gene expression that are regulated independent of the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetics was first discussed in the context of development and was proposed to be the mechanism that allows for cellular differentiation by determining the "correct" gene expression profile for a given cell type. The biochemical modifications that mediated epigenetic regulation include (but are not limited to) chromatin modifications like DNA methylation, histone modification, and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling. Epigenetic modifications were traditionally defined as stable and heritable; however recent studies have shown that epigenetic modifications can be highly dynamic, especially in neurons. It is now known that the dynamic regulation of chromatin structure is essential for memory formation in model organisms and epigenetic processes have been implicated in human cognitive disorders. These discoveries have lead to the emergence of a new sub-field of epigenetics; neuroepigenetics.

The main goals of the Kramer lab are to understand the role of epigenetic regulation in learning and memory and to understand the contribution of epigenetic regulation to human cognitive disorders, such as Intellectual Disability (ID). In particular, we are focused on epigenetic regulatory complexes involved in histone modification (acetylation/methylation) and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling (SWI/SNF superfamily). We take a multidisciplinary systems approach, combining high throughput Drosophila learning and memory assays, large-scale sub-brain genomics, clinical genetics, and bioinformatics.


Berube, N.G. and Kramer, J.M. Epigenetics in Intellectual Disability. 2014. In Epigenetics in Psychiatry, ed. J. Peedicayil, D. Avramopoulos, and D.R. Grayson. Elsevier. In Press.

Kleefstra T., Schenck A, Kramer J.M., van Bokhoven H. 2014. The genetics of cognitive epigenetics. Neuropharmacology. 80: 83-94.

Gupta V.K., Scheunemann L., Eisenberg T., Mertel S., Bhukel A., Koemans T.S., Kramer J.M., Liu K.S., Schroeder S., Stunnenberg H.G., Sinner F., Magnes C., Pieber T.R., Dipt S., Fiala A., Schenck A., Schwaerzel M., Madeo F., and Sigrist S.J. 2013. Restoration of polyamines protects from age-induced memory impairment in an autophagy-dependent manner. Nature Neuroscience, 16(10):1453-60.

Kramer J.M. 2013. Epigenetic regulation of memory: implications in human cognitive disorders. Biomolecular Concepts, 4(1): 1-12.

Kleefstra, T.*, Kramer, J.M.*, Neveling, K., Willemsen, M.H., Koemans, T., Vissers, L.E., Wissink-Lindhout, W., van den Akker, W., Kasri, N.N., Nillesen, W.M., Prescott, T., Clark, R.D., Devriendt, K., van Reeuwijk, J., de Brouwer, A.P.M., Gilissen, C., Zhou, H., Veltman, J.A., Schenck, A., van Bokhoven, H. 2012. Disruption of an EHMT1-associated chromatin modification module causes intellectual disability. American Journal of Human Genetics, 91(1): 73-82. *equal contribution.

Koolen, D.A.*, Kramer, J.M.*, Neveling, K.*, Nillessen, W.M., Moore-Barton, H., Elmslie, F.V., Toutain, A., Amiel, J., Tsai, A.C., Cheung, S.W., Gillissen, C., Verwiel, E., Martens, S., Feuth, T., Bongers, E., de Vries, P., Scheffers, H., Vissers, L.E., de Brouwer, A.P.M., Brunner, H.G., Schenck, A., Veltman, J.A., Yntema, H., de Vries, B.A.B. 2012. Mutations in the chromatin modifier gene KANSL1 cause the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome. Nature Genetics, 44(6): 639-41. *equal contribution.

Kramer, J.M., Kochinke, K., Oortveld, M.A.W., Marks, H., Kramer, D., de Jong, E.K., Asztalos, Z., Westwood, J.T., Stunnenberg, H.G., Sokolowski, M.B., Keleman, K., Zhou, H., van Bokhoven, H., and Schenck, A. 2011. Epigenetic regulation of learning & memory by Drosophila EHMT/G9a. PLoS Biology, 9(1): e1000569.

Mukhopadhyay, A.*, Kramer, J.M.*, Merkx, G., Lugtenberg, D., Smeets, D., Oortveld, M.A.W., Blokland, E., Agrawal, J., Schenck, A., van Bokhoven, H., Huys, H., Schoenmakers, E., van Kessel, A.G., van Nouhuys, E., and Cremers, F.P.M. 2010. CDK19 is disrupted in a female patient with bilateral congenital retinal folds, microcephaly and mild mental retardation. Human Genetics, 28(3): 281-91. *equal contribution.

van Bokhoven, H. and Kramer, J.M. 2010. Disruption of the Epigenetic Code: A Common Molecular Mechanism in Mental Retardation. Neurobiology of Disease. 39(1): 3-12.