Much of our adult behavior reflects the neural circuits sculpted by experience in infancy and early childhood. At no other time in life does the surrounding environment so potently shape brain function – from basic motor skills, sensation or sleep to higher cognitive processes like language. How this plasticity waxes and wanes with age carries an impact far beyond neuroscience, including education policy, therapeutic approaches to developmental disorders or strategies for recovery from brain injury in adulthood.

Our laboratory, housed in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Center for Brain Science at Harvard University and F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and part of the NIMH-funded Conte Center at Harvard, explores the mechanisms underlying critical periods of brain development. Research is aimed at the interface between cell biology and neuroscience – applying cellular/molecular techniques to elucidate complex neural systems.

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Circadian rhythms outside the brain’s central pacemaker may control the trajectory of brain plasticity
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Header based on research image of Luke Bogart, Dawen Cai, Jeff Lichtman & Takao Hensch.
Researcher photo above courtesy of Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Mouse cartoon to right courtesy of Nadine Gogolla.