Researcher | Research Overview
Takao Hensch examines how early life experience shapes brain function. Neural circuits are both actively sculpted and vulnerable to disorders during such “critical periods” of development. Integrating molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience, Hensch has revealed that these periods are themselves plastic and reversible. Specific, inhibitory (GABA) circuits determine their onset timing, and “brake”-like factors ultimately consolidate this potent rewiring process. Translational research at Boston Children’s Hospital inspired by his work targets recovery from neurodevelopmental disorders, such as amblyopia, epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders. See feature article in Nature for details.
Researcher | Research Background
Takao Hensch received his PhD from UCSF (HHMI Fellow) after training at Harvard, University of Tokyo (MPH) and the Max-Planck Institut (Fulbright Fellow). He is a recipient of the Young Investigator Award from both the Japanese (2001 Tsukahara Prize) and US (2005) Society for Neuroscience, the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2007), the Mortimer D. Sackler, M.D. Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology (2016), and leads the NIMH Silvio Conte Center on Mental Health Research at Harvard.