Christopher Henderson

Christopher Henderson


Co-director, High-Throughput Screening, Columbia Genome Center
Co-director, Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease
Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology in Neurology


JP Sulzberger Columbia Genome Center
Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology


(212) 342-4086

Christopher Henderson is Co-director for High-Throughput Screening at the JP Sulzberger Columbia Genome Center. He is also Co-director of the Columbia University Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology and Neurology, and is on the faculty of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.

Henderson’s research is focused on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for motor neuron degeneration and loss, particularly in the context of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Because it is difficult to study these diseases in patients or in animal models, his work uses stem cells to study motor neuron development, both as an important in area in its own right and as an approach to understanding and analyzing mechanisms underlying SMA and ALS.  His work incorporates methods from high-throughput screening to test methods for understanding and controlling motor neuron development.

Henderson obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1979. He subsequently spent much of his career in France, first at the Pasteur Institute in Paris with Jean-Pierre Changeux, then as CNRS Director of Research in Montpellier and Marseille, where he directed the INSERM research unit on Neuronal Development and Pathology. Henderson's interest in translational neuroscience led him to spend time as a visiting scientist with Genentech, Inc. and to become co-founder of Trophos, S.A., a drug discovery biotech focused on neurodegenerative disease, including ALS and SMA. He moved to Columbia in May 2005.

Education History

PhD, University of Cambridge


Motor Neuron Center
Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Building #5-420
New York, NY 10032

Lab Staff


High-Throughput Screening and Chemistry Symposium
Learn about the Columbia Genome Center's capabilities in high-throughput screening and synthetic chemistry, and some recent research at Columbia that utilized these tools.