The laboratory's research is organized along three main themes:
Post-mitochondrial regulation of programmed cell death in the mammalian CNS.
EphB-mediated control of neural connectivity in the CNS.
Development and analysis of small molecule therapeutics to PCD.

(Laboratory site map).  Additional description of research topics:

Programmed cell death:
During neural development and following many forms of injury, damaged cells are eliminated through a cell autonomous process known as apoptosis or programmed cell death (PCD). Abnormal regulation of PCD is known to occur in a wide variety of cancers and neurodegenerative disorders including Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea. PCD also plays an important role in acute injury states such as spinal cord injury and stroke. Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating PCD is therefore a critical feature of enhancing functional recovery following injury. The laboratory is investigating molecular interactions which are common to many forms of PCD/apoptosis. This research is aimed at characterizing key protein-protein interactions which control neuronal injury and survival following CNS insult. Our emphasis is on those neural circuits which govern motor control.

Axon guidance:
Meaningful functional recovery within the injured adult central nervous system requires both neuronal survival and appropriate re-innervation of injured neurons to neural targets. In order better understand the process of local axon guidance during mammalian development and following CNS injury we are investigating a family of axon guidance molecules known as the EphB family. We have previously demonstrated that these receptor tyrosine kinases play important roles in regulating the organization of several regions of the CNS, as well as being critical regulators of dynamic neural remodeling. We are currently attempting to understand the role which Eph receptors play in regulating several novel features of motor and sensory control in the CNS.

Molecular Therapeutics:
Through the use homologous gene targeting, the role which a specific gene plays in a given signaling process can determined in vivo. Over the past decade, our investigations have allowed us to identify key molecular interactions which govern specific forms of neural cell death. Modified variants these proteins can be introduced in a stable manner into cell lines where the dynamic nature of their interaction can be investigated in real time. Using such methodologies we have developed high throughput screening assays to assess the ability of thousands of small molecular interactors to influence specific elements of protein function with respect to cell injury. At present we have identified compounds capable of altering the pattern specific molecular interactions relevant to PCD. We are currently investigating the detailed mechanism of these agents and their ability to alter PCD in vivo.

Research by neuroscience field:
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience: Biochemistry of programmed cell death,   Axon guidance in the CNS
Developmental Neuroscience: Regulation of CNS apoptosis,  Eph-mediated axon guidance,  Motor development
Neurobiology of Disease: Response and regeneration of the CNS following injury,  Murine models of human disease
Neurogenetics: Conditional gene targeting,  Embryonic stem cell modification, iPS cells
Neuroimaging: in vivo / ex vivo optical imaging of the CNS,   MRI,   Electromyography,   Electron microscopy
Neuroanatomy: Neurosurgery - rodent models of human disease,   Development of variational atlases - mouse CNS

Investigational methods utilized:
Homologous (ES/iPS) gene targeting, ex vivo CNS slice and primary neuronal culture, gene transduction methods (biolistic, microinjection, electroporation), stereotactic and laser-based microsurgical methods, in vivo methods of neural tracing, analysis of neuroanatomy / neural morphometry in rodents, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Lab Notices:


2/26/2024 - Congratulations to S. Huang and colleagues on their recent article.

2/23/2024 - Henderson Speaks at SCBA: Cooperative necroptotic - apoptotic cell death signaling interaction in stem cells.

1/16/2023 - Congratulations to T. Cho and colleague on their recent article.

7/28/2023 - US provisional patent # 63/529,494, FMD-Canada.FID9483419, filed 7/28/2023: Method, System and Apparatus for the Introduction of Materials Across Lipid Membranes using Modifications in Hydrostatic Pressure.

6/7/2023 - Henderson speaks at Amgen scholars meeting: Application of CRISPR-based genetic modeling in ES cells and neurons.

5/15/2022 - Henderson speaks at Peking Medical College, Department of Pharmacology, Beijing: Cooperative of Apoptotic/Necroptotic PCD in stroke.

3/24/2022 - Construction of replacement Vserver completed. Dell excluded from all further contracts.

3/01/2021 - Construction of upgraded servers completed.

9/20/2020 - Henderson lab joins CAIREM (Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine).

4/29/2020 - Congratulations to Dr. Chesa Dojo Soeandy on her successful Ph.D. defense.

3/5/2020 - Special thanks to all staff for their Covid-19 response work.

7/12/2019 - Henderson speaks at SCBA International Symposia in Kunming, China; and 2nd International Congress of the Chinese-American Pharmacological Society.

5/28/2018 - Henderson Chairs (2B), Joint annual meeting of The Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences (CSPS), Canadian Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CSPT)
and The Canadian Chapter of the Controlled Release Society (CC-CRS).

12/10/2018 - Distinguished Professor exchange program with Binzhou Medical University begins.

11/18/2018 - Henderson speaks at First International Conference on Talents in the New Era, Binzhou Medical University Shandong China.

1/5/2018 - Henderson, University-wide Health and Safety committee.

9/6/2017 - Henderson, Executive and Administrative Committees, Collaborative Program in Neuroscience.

5/6/17 - MIH Scope Program begins.

08/15/16 - Repairs from flood completed. New servers enabled.

08/15/16 - Congratulations to Maya Latif on her M.Sc. degree.

08/01/16 - Times University Rankings enabled.

08/20/14 - Faculty of Pharmacy takes on ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

04/08/14 - Henderson speaks at International Symposium on Synaptic Plasticity and Brain Disorders .

10/01/12 - Laboratory bookmarks list updated.

06/01/12 - Special thanks to all staff on recent Heart and Stroke and NSERC awards.

09/14/12 - Congratulations to Sofia Huroy on her M.Sc. degree.

09/15/11 - Congratulations to Ashlin Kanawaty on her M.Sc. degree.

06/28/11 - Henderson speaks at Models of Human Disease Conference.

11/15/10 - Congratulations to Dr. Kelvin Hui on his Ph.D. degree.

06/25/10 - Congratulations to AFPC Pharmacy award winner Kelvin Hui.

01/15/10 - Installation of secondary server system and network upgrade complete.

12/15/09 - Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Ho on her Ph.D. degree.

10/10/09 - Congratulations to Dr. Anish Kanungo on his Ph.D. degree.

01/20/08 - Web-based scheduling for lab group initiated (motorneuron).

04/20/07 - Remote temperature monitoring installed for all freezers.

11/10/06 - 3D surgical atlases of the murine brain placed online.

10/20/06 - Antisera Epitope registry Database (AERD) begins.

06/20/06 - Move to new Pharmacy building complete (144 College Ave).

04/02/04 - MIH (Murine Imaging and Histology) Core opens.

07/20/03 - SQL database for gene constructs, cell lines, lab inventory and experimental data enabled.

05/10/03 - CFI/OIT funding granted for development of murine imaging and histology facility.

Lab Mascots:

Meet our low maintenance lab mascot:        Sammy the scholastic transgenic mouse!
Don't party too hard - or you might wind up like this.

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Address: Rm 903, 144 College Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3M2     Phone: 416-978-5571